President Elect Donald Trump arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan.20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. 
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Trump’s inauguration fundraising adds to his disclosure troubles

In late November, Donald Trump’s inaugural committee started selling “exclusive access” to the president-elect and his team “in exchange for donations of $1 million and more.” Apparently, some folks took advantage of the opportunity.
President Trump raised twice as much money for his inauguration festivities as any previous president-elect in history, pulling in tens of millions of dollars from wealthy donors and large corporations eager to woo the nation’s new chief executive in the days after his unexpected victory.

Disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday showed the contributions from corporate executives, lobbyists and businesses, as well as small donors, totaled $107 million. The previous record was held by President Barack Obama, who raised $53 million for his 2009 inauguration.
As the New York Times’ report added, Trump’s inaugural committee has not disclosed how the money was spent, how much was unspent, or where those funds may end up. The committee said yesterday it’s “still identifying charities toward which it would direct leftover money.”

The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold noted that the inaugural committee’s members “said they’d tell us about their donations when they released fundraising numbers. They didn’t.”

When we talk about Team Trump’s transparency troubles, the problem isn’t limited to tax returns and White House visitor logs.

As for the inaugural committee, as we discussed in January, Trump’s allies generally respond to reports like these by arguing that every modern president, from both parties, has raised millions through his inaugural committee. There’s quite a bit of truth to that.

But Trump did run on a platform of ending special-interest influence in Washington – selling access to corporate donors for $1 million a pop is quite a departure from the Republican’s campaign rhetoric – and as the New York Times’ has reported, Trump’s donors were “given greater access and facing fewer limits on donations than those in other recent inaugurations.”

George W. Bush and Barack Obama, for example, put caps on individual contributions. Team Trump eliminated those caps. Donors were rewarded nicely for their generosity, with perks that included meals with Trump, cabinet nominees, and congressional leaders.

Can’t you hear the swamp being drained?