Barack Obama has already heavily restricted lobbyists from his transition team. Now heâ€™s also rejecting their money for inaugural festivities:
Mr. Obamaâ€™s newly formed inaugural committee said Tuesday that it would not accept money from corporations, political action committees, people who are currently registered with the federal government as lobbyists, those who are not citizens of the United States or registered foreign agents.
Campaign finance experts said that to their knowledge, the limits were tighter than for any previous inauguration [$50,000 for individuals], both in dollar amounts and in who will be permitted to give. Donations for earlier inaugurations have carried dollar limits, but they were higher â€” up to $250,000 for individuals in the case of George W. Bush, who allowed corporations to give more than that.
Iâ€™m sure Obamaâ€™s wealthy donors will pony up (and receive an invitation to a ball). But I wonder if Obamaâ€™s smaller donors will be moved to give money so other people can hold a party. And I wonder how much less Obama will spend than the record $42.3 million George W. Bush spent on his inaugural events in 2005.
However much money Obama can raise and however scaled down his inauguration will have to be, Iâ€™m glad to see heâ€™s sticking to his pledge to limit the power of lobbyists and large corporations. He is certainly establishing the right tone in the lead-up to his presidency.