Weiners donate 100K for Obama inaugural


Mark Weiner, the prodigious Democratic fundraiser and Clinton confidante, and his wife have combined to donate $100,000, the maximum allowable, for Obama's inauguration. Steven Stycos reports in this week's Phoenix.

Obama set the strictest limits ever for a presidential inauguration, limiting individual donations to $50,000 and declining contributions from corporations, unions, lobbyists, or political action committees. In 2005, President George Bush accepted contributions from all sources and limited individual donors to $250,000.

Contributions from the Weiners and others, however, raise questions.

"Donors to the inauguration will get up-close access to the new administration, establishing themselves on day one as some of the most supportive of the president-elect's supporters," Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the Washington, DC-based Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), says via e-mail, "The question is, what, if anything, will they get in return — not just on Inauguration Day, but as the real work begins?"

Ritsch notes the Weiners' inaugural contributions far exceed the $2300 limit on presidential campaign contributions.

John Marion, the new executive director of Common Cause of Rhode Island, says, "Private money going to public officials is something we need to keep an eye on."

Mark and Susan Weiner did not return phone calls from the Phoenix.

Mark Weiner has been a prominent Democratic fundraiser for more than 20 years. Records compiled by the CRP show that he and his wife donated $536,544 to federal candidates and PACs since 1993.

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