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Hog Heaven for Bush: No Limits for Inaugural Fund-Raisers

Guess who’s on the list of fat cats contributing to the pomp and circumstance? I posted a list of Inauguration suck-ups a little while back. This NYT article takes a look at the cash generator, Mercer Reynolds. (NYT):

President Bush’s top fund-raisers, who gathered a record sum in a marathon campaign, have shown that they can sprint, as well, collecting up to $40 million in six weeks for the inaugural celebrations.

…With so much money to raise in such a short time, Mr. Bush turned to his most prodigious fund-raisers. Chief among them is Mr. Reynolds, a longtime friend and supporter of the president who presided over the most effective money machine in presidential history.

Mercer is really his nickname,” said Al Hoffman of Florida, an inaugural fund-raiser who also contributed $100,000. “His real name is Merciless.

…The committee took advantage of campaign finance laws that allowed companies, which are prevented from contributing to candidates during the election, to donate freely to the inauguration and offered packages that include premium tickets to the festivities and special events with the president.

…Military contractors including Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, which have lobbyists working on a wide range of topics like government appropriations and weapons systems, each gave $100,000, records show.

Energy firms like ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobile, Occidental Petroleum and the Southern Company, whose interests encompass environmental legislation and the energy bill that has been stalled in Congress, each gave $250,000.

Technology firms including Microsoft and Oracle, with interests in patents, software licensing and cybersecurity, gave $100,000 each. Transportation companies, including Union Pacific, which gave $100,000, and the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway, which gave $250,000, monitor issues like railway safety.

Major Republican benefactors also responded like Alex Spanos, owner of the San Diego Chargers football team, and T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oil magnate. They supported Republicans heavily in the election and each gave $250,000 to the inauguration.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding