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Archive for Thursday, April 24, 2003

Sebelius’ inauguration cost scrutinized

Special interests paid for most of gala’s costs, report shows

April 24, 2003

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— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius described her inaugural as a celebration for Kansas families and citizens, but special interests paid most of the bills for the four days of festivities, records show.

The Democratic governor raised and spent more than did former Republican Gov. Bill Graves on either of his two inaugurations -- and relied more heavily than he did on contributions from corporations, unions and interest groups. Money also was raised from ticket sales and individual donations.

Sebelius' inaugural committee, in a report filed with the secretary of state, listed $485,963 in contributions from Nov. 19 through Feb. 28 and $382,892 spent on the events surrounding her Jan. 13 swearing-in.

Of the total raised, $335,944, or 69 percent, came from unions, interest groups and corporations, while $91,155, or 19 percent, came from sales of individual tickets and special inaugural wreaths, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

Graves raised $356,634 and spent $351,422 for his 1995 inaugural. His committee's report showed that ticket sales accounted for $227,190 -- a full 64 percent of the total -- while $117,524, or 33 percent, came from corporations and interest groups.

But Graves received no inaugural contributions from unions in 1995 nor in 1999, when the committee for his second inaugural reported raising $336,367 and spending $318,940.

Ticket sales for Graves' 1999 inauguration accounted for $138,103 or 41 percent of the total raised, with corporations and interest groups contributing $190,930 or 57 percent.

The differences in the two governors' inaugural finances stem partly from locale. Events for Graves were largely confined to Topeka, while Sebelius had events in seven cities in four days.

Differences in their bases of support also show up in the pattern of contributions.

"You go back to the people who supported you, and then you expand it a little bit," Sebelius spokeswoman Nicole Corcoran-Basso said.

Kansas governors have relied on private funds to pay for inaugural festivities but did not have to disclose details of contributions and spending until a law was passed in 1994.

The disclosure law was a response to Democratic Gov. Joan Finney's inaugural in 1991, when the general public got free tickets, but 90 corporations paid $2,000, $5,000 or $10,000 for tables.

The law now limits contributions to $2,000, plus anything spent to buy tickets.

Source Amount Percent
Corporations $230,379 47.4
Interest Groups $84,365 17.4
Individuals $55,464 11.4
Labor Unions $21,200 4.4
Political party groups $3,000 0.6
Sebelius Campaign $400 0.1
Unitemized Sales $91,155 18.8
Total $485,963 100
-- Report filed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' inaugural committee with the Secretary of State's Office, AP computer analysis.

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