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The Globe and Mail

Obama’s inauguration committee seeks donors to fund big day

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama at the Lincoln Memorial during an inaugural concert in Washington , Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009.

Charles Dharapak/Charles Dharapak/AP

President Barack Obama's inauguration committee is accepting corporate donations to help fund the parade and other events associated with his Jan. 21 inauguration after tapped-out Democratic donors spent huge sums helping him get elected.

The move is a shift for Mr. Obama, who did not accept corporate donations for his first inauguration in January, 2009.

Aides from the Presidential Inaugural Committee confirmed it would accept money from "individual and institutional" givers to help cover the cost of public events not paid for by taxpayers.

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"Our goal is to make sure that we will meet the fundraising requirements for this civic event after the most expensive presidential campaign in history," Addie Whisenant, a committee spokeswoman, said in a statement. "To ensure continued transparency, all names of donors will be posted to a regularly updated website."

The committee would not accept donations from lobbyists or political action committees (PACs), however, and would not forge sponsorship agreements with people or businesses, she said.

Mr. Obama has shifted his position on money in politics before. This year, despite his opposition to a Supreme Court ruling that allowed outside organizations to spend unlimited amounts in campaign advertising, the President agreed to allow White House and other high-profile campaign aides to attend fundraisers for a Super PAC designed to support his re-election.

On Inauguration Day, taxpayers fund the official swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill and related congressional lunches, but the inaugural committee must pay for the parade, balls, and other events. According to fundraising documents linked to a story by the New York Times, donors have been offered perks including tickets to an inaugural ball for $250,000 (U.S.) in individual donations or $1-million in institutional or corporate contributions.

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