Obama Reverses Stand on Inaugural Corporate Cash

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 8 2012 12:34 PM

Obama Reverses Stand on Corporate Cash for Inauguration Festivities

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A worker closes a gate as construction for US President Barack Obama's second inauguration is under way in front of the White House

Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

You know how people always say parents stress out much less with their second child than the first? Seems the same is true for inaugurations. President Obama has made it official and will now accept unlimited corporate donations for his January inauguration celebrations. And the events themselves will be much more low-key as the White House fears coming off as tin-eared if it is too ostentatious at a time when many Americans are still suffering due to the weak economy. For his second term, Obama will hold just three official inaugural balls, down from 10 in 2009, reports the New York Times.

Even if he’s accepting corporate donations, it isn’t a free for all. The inaugural committee still won't accept cash from lobbyists or political action committees. And will return any money from corporations that pose an obvious conflict. Still, it’s quite the change from last time when not only companies were banned from giving, but all contributions were capped at $50,000, points out Politico. At the time, the inaugural committee said it was part of Obama’s “commitment to change business as usual in Washington.” Now Obama has opened himself to accusations that Washington changed him and not the other way round. Supporters, however, insist it was “a decision born out of pragmatism,” as Politico puts it. The usual Democratic supporters are simply tapped out after such an expensive campaign. 

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.