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By Geraldine Sealey

Published January 20, 2005 5:36PM (EST)

Via, here is the list of inaugural donors who are underwriting what's expected to be the most expensive inauguration in history. As Tom Paine reminds us, "Bush calls them his base."

About those donors, Public Citizen crunched the numbers and found that, as of last week, corporations and corporate execs pitched in 96 percent of the funds for the inaugural festivities (the nine inaugural balls, and so on). The majority of these industry benefactors are also, not surprisingly, Pioneers, Rangers or "Super Rangers," who have bundled up campaign money for Bush. The industries who've spent the most to wine and dine with the GOP this week: the finance and investment and energy industries.

And just what do the titans of industry expect in return? What they've had from the day George W. Bush stepped into office: access and influence. As Public Citizen points out in its analysis of inaugural contributions, numerous "significant contributors" to the inaugural fund "have already received many legislative and regulatory favors from the Bush administration, and ... stand to get even more in the second term."

This idea isn't new, of course, that corporations and executives buy access to the most powerful in Washington (and it didn't start with George W. Bush, although he has welcomed corporate America into the policymaking process in Washington with an intensity we've perhaps never seen before). But a quote from a Ford Motor Co. spokesman in this Reuters piece shocked us for its brazenness. It's not just the movers and shakers in the executive and legislative branches who are being wooed by industry, it's the judiciary, too.

"It does give us an opportunity to interact with those that are in the government, those that are in the administration, those that are in the Congress, and those that are in the judiciary, and policymakers that are involved with the process in Washington," said Mike Moran, a spokesman for Ford Motor Co., another $250,000 donor.

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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