For someone who repeatedly berated Wall Street during his campaign, President Trump received a lot of inauguration help from its inhabitants. The securities and investment industry contributed the greatest chunk to Trump’s inaugural festivities, $14.3 million, or about 13 percent of all donations. To compare, Obama received $4.6 million from Wall Street in 2009 and $3 million in 2013.
Not that Trump has made it easy to calculate where the money came from. The required listing of donors the inaugural committee filed with the FEC in April was riddled with false names, and two campaign finance groups filed a complaint last week saying he violated federal law by not collecting basic accurate info. (The committee said it would amend the report.) And while Obama’s reports were both filed electronically, Trump’s team submitted a paper filing that was hand delivered to the FEC, making it much more difficult to process the data. Thanks in part to a crowdsourcing effort and parsing started by Huffington Post, and further analysis by our own research staff, we can now share donor data such as historic giving patterns, where they’re from and affiliated industries. To explore the data yourself, click here.
After Wall Street, Trump was most popular with industries linked to his business empire, with real estate ($9 million), casinos/gambling ($7.8 million from just 11 donors, most of which came from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson) and recreation ($7.2 million) following Wall Street. The latter two did not appear on Obama’s top 10 lists at all.
The oil and gas and mining industries combined for 10 percent of the committee’s total haul, with just 60 donors giving $10.7 million. Companies such as Murray Energy ($300,000), Consol Energy ($150,000) and Exxon Mobil ($500,000) are seeing their investments pay off: Trump is already weakening or killing regulations to which the industry has objected.
His inaugural committee was also popular with the tobacco industry, earned $1 million from Reynolds through a subsidiary, while Altria pitched in $500,000 and Benett Lebow, chairman of Vector Group, gave $300,000. And private prisons, which are hoping to get rich amid Trump’s immigration crackdown, showed their loyalty as well: CCA of Tennessee, or CoreCivic, and GEO Corrections Holding each gave $250,000.
Newcomers and Old Hands
Almost one-quarter of the around 830 givers wrote their first political checks ever (at the federal level) for Trump’s welcome party. In all, they contributed $2 million to the inauguration. Most of the first-timers (about 100 of them) gave $600 or less.
But other new faces chipped in generously, like Bennie Kante of Sapulpa, Okla. ($250,000), chief strategist for the cosmetics giant SeneGence International. Brad Keltner of Rembert, S.C., gave $250,000; he’s a regional partner of Modern Woodmen of America and a principal of American Pastime Sports Marketing Agency. Kenneth and Sherrilyn Fischer — who are erroneously listed on Trump’s report as Kenneth Sherrilyn — of Fischer Investments gave $200,000.
Timothy Kasbe, who gave $150,000, has been the chief information officer with Reliance Industries, Sears, and Intrexon, as well as COO for Gloria Jeans, a Russian firm. We know less about David Durrant, who gave $100,000 and is listed at a nonexistent address in Anaheim, Calif.
The rest of the donors, collectively, have made quite the impression in the political sphere, giving a total of $595 million to politicians, parties and outside groups since 1989.
But some were late to the Trump train. These donors gave almost $58 million to other presidential candidates — more than twice as much as the $28 million they gave Trump and the various outside groups supporting him during the election. Some portion of them also gave across the aisle, with $13.9 million going to Democrats and liberal groups. Most donations actually came from liberal states such as New York and California, just like Obama’s donors in 2009.
Organizations — companies like AT&T ($2 million) and Dow Chemical ($1 million) — pitched in $51 million. The companies that supported the inauguaral have doled out $26.7 million to outside groups (mostly super PACs) since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision led to the creation of such vessels to accept unlimited corporate, union and other types of contributions. (Almost all of it — $25.1 million — went to conservative groups.)
At least 10 donors are or have been registered lobbyists: Ron Wahid with RJI Capital ($100,000), Lisa Barry of Chevron Corp ($12,500), Michael Klein of M Klein & Co. ($2,500), David Winstead of Winco LLC ($1,000), Adrian Plesha of Promia Inc. ($800), David Tamasi of Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications ($500), Jeffrey Strunk of Forbes-Tate ($400), Mitchell Vakerics of Prime Policy Group ($400), Diana Waterman of Coldwell Banker Waterman Realty ($200) and Joanne Young of Kirstein & Young ($200).
Alex Baumgart contributed to this post.