Monday, January 10, 2005

The Inauguration of the Damned: Brought to you by ... me?!?

From The Associated Press:

The team collecting private donations to finance President Bush's inaugural festivities has taken in $18 million, putting it nearly halfway to its goal of at least $40 million. ...

Those donating $250,000 become inaugural "underwriters" and receive tickets to inaugural week events featuring the president and Laura Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne.

The new underwriters include AT&T; Bank of America; the pharmaceutical manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb; the energy company Cinergy; United Parcel Service; Alex G. Spanos, the owner of the San Diego Chargers; the American Financial Group of Cincinnati and one of its top executives, Carl H. Lindner; the New Energy Corporation, of South Bend, Ind.; Thomas Stephenson, a partner in Sequoia Capital in Atherton, Calif.; and the Strongbow Technologies Corporation, based in Maryland.

Several new contributors gave $100,000 to become inaugural "sponsors," a level of giving that also includes tickets to events leading up to and including the inauguration at the Capitol on Jan. 20. Those include Pepsi-Cola; Tyson Foods; the Goldman-Sachs Group; the California Farm Bureau Federation; Titus Electrical Contracting, of Austin, Tex.; the Hunting Engineering Company, of Bridgeton, Mo.; Intervest Construction, of Daytona Beach, Fla.; and Computer Associates International, of Islandia, N.Y.

Mr. Bush's inaugural committee can accept contributions in any amount and from almost any source, including corporations. Only foreign money is prohibited.

So, AT&T, my phone carrier, and Bank of America, which currently holds the mortgage on my house, both have donated a quarter of a million dollars to this party, to which I wouldn't be welcome? Wonderful. Bank of America I can't do much about. (When my partner and I bought our house two years ago, the mortgage was held by Fleet. Fleet sold it to Washington Mutual. Washington Mutual sold it back to Fleet. Fleet has now sold it to BoA. I never dreamed my dance card would be so full!) But it will be easy to replace AT&T with a company that spends my $$$ a bit more wisely.

UPDATE: Goodbye AT&T, hello Working Assets!

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