How Trump's inaugural committee spent the record $107M worth of donations to celebrate his election

President Donald Trump's inaugural committee raised the most of any newly elected president: a whopping $107 million. For comparison, President Barack Obama's inaugural committee raised $53 million.

Nearly two years after Trump was sworn in, a new report from The New York Times details how some of that money was spent. That's not the only scrutiny the committee is facing. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Brooklyn, are looking into whether there were any illegal foreign donations to the committee.

The Times notes, however, that a presidential inaugural committee can "for the most part" spend the money raised on what it likes. Despite this, Trump's spending surprised past planners for both Obama and former President George W. Bush. The newspaper describes the bulk of the spending as "mundane" — mostly going to hotels, vendors, and payroll, and $5 million to charity

Here are the most interesting expenditures from Trump's inauguration:

President Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on January 20, 2017.

Jim Bourg/Reuters

While the swearing-in ceremony and the luncheon that followed were paid for by Congress, the other events — concerts, balls, etc. — were paid for by Trump's presidential inaugural committee. Through interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times, reporters were able to get a sense of what the committee spent its money on for the inauguration.

Source: The New York Times

 

Trump's committee was chaired by Thomas J. Barrack Jr.

Stephen Shugerman / Stringer

In a statement to The Times, Barrack Jr. said, he continues "to be proud of the incredible work of all those that were part of the committee."

He added that the committee "complied with all laws and regulations, and its finances were fully audited internally and independently. The donors were fully vetted and disclosed to the Federal Election Commission as required."

Source: The New York Times

 

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Jonathan Reynaga, and WIS Media Partners

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Winston Wolkoff was a friend of First Lady Melania Trump. She and Jonathan Reynaga formed WIS Media Partners, which was in charge of broadcasting rights for the inaugural events and was initially going to make a documentary about the inauguration (which was later scrapped).

Winston Wolkoff had a contract for $1.6 and WIS Media Partners was paid nearly $26 million (which it used to pay vendors).

"I have never heard anybody getting that kind of fee associated with any inaugural, ever," Greg Jenkins, who oversaw Bush's second inauguration said of Winston Wolkoff's fee.

A spokesperson from WIS Media Partners told The Times its fees were "significantly below" the going rate for such events.

Expenses for WIS Media Partners employees totaled $227,511 for things like cabs, room service, etc.

Source: The New York Times

 

The Trump International Hotel

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, billed more than $1.5 million for services — including renting out spaces like a ballroom. The Willard and the Fairmont hotels were also used, and they were paid equal that amount or more.

The WIS Media Partners spokesperson told The Times that their employees stayed at the hotel "at the explicit direction" of the committee, a claim that was disputed by the committee.

Reynaga spent $18,000 at the Trump International Hotel, according to The Times, and $31,000 on hotel rooms overall.

Source: The New York Times

 

Party planner David Monn

(AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

The New York-based party planner was paid $3.7 million (and refused to sign a contract), The Times reported. That money was paid out to subcontractors.

Monn spent $924,000 to amp up decorations for a candlelight dinner at Union Station.

Source: The New York Times

 

The candlelight dinner at Union Station

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The aforementioned dinner was one of two events that Winston Wolkoff was in charge of. The other was a black-tie dinner hosted by Barrack.

Around 20 staffers had their makeup done for the dinner at $500 per person.

Source: The New York Times

 

$2 million was given to Brad Parscale's firm

Reuters

Parscale served as the digitial media director for Trump's campaign. For the inauguration, his firm was contracted to produce digital advertisements for the inauguration. Parscale now serves as Trump's campaign manager for his 2020 reelection campaign.

Source: The New York Times

 

What funds go into an inauguration?

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Overall, a presidential inauguration is paid for through an amalgamation of private and public funds.

"In bureaucratic terms, the costs are shared by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the federal government, and state and local governments," The New York Times explained in 2017.

The private money, footed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, pays for the events — balls, concerts, dinners, etc. The bulk of Trump's inaugural committee money came from wealthy donors and corporations like Pfizer, Bank of America, and AT&T. The committee raised $107 million between Election Day and the inauguration. (Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and Manhattan are reportedly looking into whether there were illegal donations made from foreign persons.)

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Inauguration day protests in Washington, DC
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Inauguration day protests in Washington, DC

A limousine burns after being smashed by anti-Trump protesters on K Street on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. While protests were mostly peaceful, some turned violent. President-elect Donald Trump was sworn-in as the 45th U.S. President today.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Protesters block a street after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump on January 20, 2017, in Washington, DC.

(ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Protesters clash with police after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman helps a protester after he was sprayed with pepper spray during protest near the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bryan Woolston)

Michael Moore speaks to protesters at McPherson Square Park following the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Today Trump became the 45th president of the United States.

(Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

Protesters clash with police during the inauguration of US President Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

A man protests the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

A police officer tries to tackle a protester demonstrating against U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the inauguration in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

An activist stands amid smoke from a stun grenade while protesting against U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the inauguration in Washington, D.C. January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Protesters chain themselves to each other and block an entry point prior at the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bryan Woolston)

Firefighters extinguish a car that was set on fire during protests near the inauguration of President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bryan Woolston)

Protesters demonstrating against U.S. President Donald Trump raise their hands as they are surrounded by police on the sidelines of the inauguration in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Protesters chain themselves to an entry point prior at the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

Protesters clash with police while demonstrating against U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the inauguration in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

A protestor dressed as Uncle Sam attends Donald Trump's Inauguration ceremony on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

Police run as they confront protesters during the inauguration of US President Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Protesters are surrounded by police during a protest near the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bryan Woolston)

A protester is assisted by police after being injured during protests near the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bryan Woolston)

Protesters chain themselves to an entry point prior at the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Bryan Woolston)

Demonstrators protest following the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Today Trump became the 45th president of the United States.

(Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

An anti-Trump protester screams after being hit by a paintball gun fired by Police during clashes in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2107. Masked, black-clad protesters carrying anarchist flags smashed windows and scuffled with riot police Friday in downtown Washington, blocks away from the route of the parade in honor of newly sworn-in President Donald Trump. Washington police arrested more than 90 people over acts of vandalism committed on the fringe of peaceful citywide demonstrations being held against Trump's inauguration.

(JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Police and demonstrators clash in downtown Washington after a limo was set on fire following the inauguration of President Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Washington and the entire world have watched the transfer of the United States presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, the 45th president.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Police stop protesters from passing through following the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Today Trump became the 45th president of the United States.

(Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

Demonstrators protest following the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Today Trump became the 45th president of the United States.

(Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

A man looks through a smashed car window during a protest against the inauguration of US President Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Demonstrators set fires as they confront police in protest against the inauguration of US President Donald Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Protesters attend Donald Trump's Inauguration ceremony on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

A man holds a sign in front of riot police during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the inauguration in Washington, D.C. January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

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The Joint Congressional Committee pays for and organizes the swearing in and the luncheon that follows; $1.25 million was appropriated by Congress for these events.

Security for the event is the biggest expense (could be more than $100 million), and the federal government pays for that.

Source: The New York Times

 

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