For Immediate Release
President Obama Should Refuse Corporate Contributions for Inauguration
Corporate Funding Tarnishes Celebration of Democracy, Opens Avenues for Corruption
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama should once again refuse to accept corporate funding for his inauguration and thus avoid both real and perceived corruption, Public Citizen urged in a letter to the president today.
The letter follows published reports indicating that Obama’s advisors are recommending he consider accepting corporate contributions to pay for the upcoming inauguration festivities. In 2009, Obama chose not to accept such donations for the festivities surrounding his first inauguration.
The letter, from Public Citizen President Robert Weissman, calls corporate donations to the inauguration “a patently horrible idea.”
“There is no way for the American people to see major corporate names associated with the inauguration and not assume those corporations are paying for a lot more than the inauguration festivities,” Weissman said.
Noting that the inauguration will be on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, Weissman says, “It would be more than a bitter irony to have corporations sponsor or fund the inauguration on the anniversary of Citizens United; it would undermine the case for corporate-free elections.”
The letter also recommends establishing a basic nonpartisan framework for what constitutes an appropriate public outlay for the inauguration – well in advance of the next presidential election – and then calibrating public inauguration festivities to that funding commitment.
“Some element of our democracy, at least, should be corporate-free,” Weissman said.
To read the full text of the letter, visit http://www.citizen.org/documents/obama-second-term-inauguration-weissman-letter.pdf.
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.