Want to attend a ladies luncheon with Melania Trump? Or a candlelight dinner with President-elect Trump and Vice-President-elect Mike Pence? Want to hobnob with Trump Cabinet nominees and congressional leaders?
Easy: Simply plunk down $1 million to the Trump inaugural committee — a gift that guarantees high-rolling donors and corporate executives special access to the new leadership about to take over in Washington.
A copy of the package deals offered by the Trump inaugural committee was obtained late Tuesday by Yahoo News. It shows the enticements that are being offered to big contributors who are willing to chip in to help cover the $75 million tab the inaugural committee — chaired by private equity investor and longtime Trump friend Thomas Barrett — is hoping to raise for the event.
As is the custom for presidential inaugurations, the package deals progressively increase in cost — with more access, more events, and more tickets the more you give. These packages are, to say the least, not exactly for the blue-collar workers who helped Trump take Michigan or Ohio. And, given the hefty price tags, they could interfere with Trump’s efforts to “drain the swamp” of special interests in the nation’s capital.
The lowest-priced offering, at $25,000, gets you two tickets to the Inaugural Parade, an “entertainment-filled” Victory Reception, admission to the Inaugural Concert and Fireworks show and a black-tie ball. The next level, for $100,000 donors, will get you four tickets to those events — plus two tickets for “an intimate policy discussion and dinner” with select Cabinet appointees. A $250,000 check will get will get you all that plus admission for two to the Ladies Luncheon where you get to “meet the ladies of the first families.” But if you also want to attend the Candlelight Dinner with Trump and Pence, the price tag for admission for four is $500,000.
There was a time — eight years ago — when then President-elect Barack Obama sought to put some brakes on the special-interest financing of his inauguration. He limited individual donors to $50,000 and barred any funds from corporations, labor unions, and lobbyists. But for his 2013 inaugural, Obama lifted most of those restrictions, except the ban on lobbyists. Trump is following suit; inaugural officials have said they also won’t accept money from lobbyists, although there is nothing in the Underwriter Response Form that makes the ban explicit.