Big Money

Inauguration Tab Is $170M

Recession, be damned! ABC News reports the US government and deep-pocketed donors are spending $170 million on Obama’s inauguration. While the swearing-in ceremony will cost a mere $1.24 million, security and all those parties and Port-a-Potties are the really big-ticket items. A Presidential Inaugural Committee spokeswoman, for example, estimates the overall party bill at $45 million—$2.7 million more than Bush’s 2005 bash budget. The federal government is picking up $49 million, and Washington and neighboring states have asked for a reported $75 million. Donors are picking up the rest of the tab, among them Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates, both of whom gave the maximum $50,000.