Inaugural Funding in the Spotlight

This article discusses funding of events coinciding with the inauguration. 

Rather than accepting donations from lobbyists, corporations and unions, Obama has raised more than $20 million from celebrities and others for the cost of official parties and other inaugural events not covered by public funds – limiting individual contributions to $50,000.

While Obama has no say over the unofficial events, the Florida parties are violating at least the spirit of the Obama pledge, say the critics.

For instance, Blue Cross Blue Shield is donating $50,000 to an unofficial Jan. 19 “Sunshine and Stars 2009 Florida Inauguration Ball” at the prestigious Corcoran Gallery of Art, a sold-out, black-tie event that organizers hope will feature an appearance by Republican Gov. Charlie Crist.

Other corporate donors to the same event, according to a list voluntarily provided by organizers, include: CSX, Florida Power and Light, Progress Energy Inc., the Seminole Tribe of Florida; Medco; Southern Company; the United Space Alliance; and the Florida Association of Realtors.

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