Anyone willing to put up $1 million or more for the inauguration festivities of President-elect Donald Trump will get a candlelight dinner and access to the President and other senior administration officials.
For these big donors inauguration day will feature "an exclusive event with select Cabinet appointees and House and Senate leadership" an " intimate dinner" with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, and "Premier access tickets" offering access to the VIP ballroom during a black-tie ball held in the evening.
The request for $1 million and up donations marks the largest amount that individual donors can contribute in decades.
During his first inauguration President Barack Obama limited donations to $50,000. In 2001 George W Bush capped his at $100,000 and at $250,000 in 2005, according to figures compiled by Public Citizen, a consumer rights non-profit in Washington D.C. that pushes to limit money in politics.
In 1997 President Bill Clinton capped contributions at $100 and the committee raised a total of $23.7 million. In 2009 Obama collected a total of $35.3 million – 80% of which came from just 211 people, including many Wall Street figures such as a senior executive at Lehman Brothers, the CEO of UBS Americas, and the vice chairman of investment banking at Citigroup. In 2013 he raised $43.8 million and allowed corporations to donate $1 million.
Trump's inauguration will cost over 50% more. The target figure to pay for the inaugural celebrations in 2017 is reportedly between $65 million and $75 million. Taxpayers pick up the tab for things like security. All donations that go above the celebration costs will be given to charity.
In 2009 Obama banned donations from corporations, political action committees, and lobbyists. But he lifted the cap and ban on corporate donations four years later to recieve seven-figure sums from AT&T, Boeing and Microsoft.
This year Trump is banning contributions to the inauguration from lobbyists. During his campaign Trump used the slogan "drain the swamp" to describe how he was going to remove the corrupting influence of money in politics.
"You can tell donors do get something out of it when you take a look at the funding sources," Public Citizen's Government Affairs Lobbyist Craig Holman told the Center for Public Integrity. "To throw a lot of money into a big party to welcome a new president, these corporations believe that is endearing them to the next administration."