Donald Trump's inauguration fueled by tobacco, oil and drug company money

Other big-spending sponsors include insurers, auto makers, tech giants

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Big corporations with money riding on President Donald Trump’s policies helped pick up the tab for Trump’s inaugural festivities earlier this month, new disclosures show.

The companies’ five-to-seven-figure contributions earned company representatives prime perks, including access to events featuring the newly inaugurated president, Vice President Mike Pence, the Trump and Pence families and prospective Cabinet members and administration officials.

Pfizer Inc. and Dow Chemical Co. both disclosed making $1 million contributions to Trump’s inaugural committee in December 2016.

Microsoft Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Amgen Inc. and Altria Client Services LLC reported giving $500,000 each, a contribution that would have earned tickets to a similar list of events.

According to Microsoft’s report, half its contribution was in cash and half in “in-kind contribution, products and services.”

Exxon Mobil Corp. reported making its contribution on Dec. 19, the week after Trump announced he would nominate Rex Tillerson, the company’s chairman and CEO, as secretary of state. Tillerson’s nomination is still pending.

General Motors Co. reported giving $200,000. Six companies reported $100,000 contributions: Verizon Communications Inc., Valero Energy Corp., MetLife Group Inc., Clean Energy Fuels Corp., Anthem, Inc., and Aetna Inc.

Aflac, Inc. reported giving $50,000 and Monsanto Co., Florida East Coast Industries, CVS Health and Brown Rudnick LLP reported giving $25,000.

According to inauguration donor packages previously obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, donors in the “$1,000,000+” tier were to receive four tickets to a “leadership luncheon” billed as “an exclusive event with select Cabinet appointees and House and Senate leadership to honor our most generous inaugural supporters.”

Donors in the $500,000 tiers also got access to a dinner with Pence and his wife, a candlelight dinner with Trump and Pence, and other festivities. Donors in lower tiers received more limited ticket packages to inaugural events.

The inauguration committee doesn’t have to file detailed reports listing contributors until 90 days after Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

But companies that lobby the federal government are legally required to file so-called “lobbying contribution” reports twice a year, and contributions to inaugural committees must be disclosed. The reports only cover the second half of 2016, so any 2017 contributions companies made to the inaugural committee aren’t included.

Trump’s inaugural committee raised more than $100 million, according to a report in the New York Times earlier this month, far more than previous inaugural committees. Tens of millions of dollars in inaugural contributions have yet to be disclosed.

The White House press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

This article was co-published by the Buffalo News.

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