Add Bank of America, Coca-Cola, FedEx and a collection of labor unions to the growing list of powerful lobbying forces underwriting the second inauguration of President Barack Obama — long a vocal critic of the influence industry and corporate political power.
The new inaugural bankrollers, the names of which the Presidential Inaugural Committee released this weekend, have together spent $124.3 million lobbying the federal government since Obama took office, a Center for Public Integrity review of federal disclosures shows.
Lobbying forces donating to Obama’s inaugural have spent nearly $283 million to influence the federal government since 2009 when including previously disclosed corporations, such as AT&T Inc., Microsoft Corp. and energy giant Southern Co. — a figure likely to grow as the inauguration committee releases the names of more new contributors.
FedEx has spent more than $64 million on federal lobbying since 2009, while Coca-Cola has spent nearly $25 million and Bank of America more than $12.8 million, federal disclosures show.
The Forest County Potawatomi Community, a Native American tribe based in Wisconsin that operates casinos, also donated to the inaugural committee and has spent $1.5 million on lobbying during the past four years. Another inaugural donor, financial investment firm Ariel Investments, has spent $200,000.
Lobbying expenditures by newly disclosed union entities donating to the inaugural committee include:
- American Federation of Government Employees ($4.74 million in 2009);
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ($3.5 million;)
- Laborers International Union of North America ($3.5 million);
- American Postal Workers Union (2.6 million);
- United Association ($1.9 million);
- International Association of Fire Fighters ($1.5 million);
- United Food and Commercial Workers ($1.5 million), and;
- the Sheet Metal Workers International Association ($150,000).
Such unions are organized as nonprofit corporations under the Internal Revenue Service code.