Washington — The team collecting private donations to finance President Bush's inaugural festivities has taken in $18 million, putting it nearly halfway to its goal of at least $40 million.
Bush's inaugural committee raised about $4.5 million of that total over the last week, according to updated donor information posted Friday on its Web site.
The latest donors include Cinergy Corp., an energy company whose businesses include electric and natural gas distribution in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Cinergy was among those donating $250,000 to become inaugural "underwriters" and receive a sponsorship package that includes tickets to various inaugural week events featuring President Bush and first lady Laura Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne.
Other new $250,000 underwriters include AT&T; Bank of America; the Bristol-Myers Squibb pharmaceutical manufacturer; United Parcel Service; San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos; American Financial Group of Cincinnati and one of its top executives, Carl H. Lindner; New Energy Corp. of South Bend, Ind.; Thomas Stephenson, a partner in Sequoia Capital in Atherton, Calif.; and Maryland-based Strongbow Technologies Corp.
Several new contributors gave $100,000 to become inaugural "sponsors," a level of giving that also includes tickets to an array of events leading up to and including the inauguration at the Capitol on Jan 20.
Those include the Pepsi-Cola Co.; Tyson Foods; the Goldman-Sachs Group financial services company; California Farm Bureau Federation; Titus Electrical Contracting of Austin, Texas; Hunting Engineering Co. of Bridgeton, Mo.; Intervest Construction of Daytona Beach, Fla.; and Computer Associates International of Islandia, N.Y.
Bush's inaugural committee can accept contributions in any amount and from almost any source, including corporations. Only foreign money is prohibited.