January 17, 2009 / 6:44 PM / 11 years ago

Study finds battered Wall St. tops Obama inaugural donors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Wall Street may be bruised and battered, but it still donated more money than any other U.S. industry to President-elect Barack Obama’s inaugural festivities on Tuesday, a study has found.

The Centre for Responsive Politics said executives of finance, insurance and real estate companies and their family members gave $7.1 million (4.8 million) to Obama’s inaugural committee.

Top donors from the world of high finance included George Soros, Ronald Perelman and David Shaw, the centre said.

Bankers and hedge fund managers will mingle with Hollywood stars and Silicon Valley high-technology titans at the swearing-in ceremony for the 44th president, the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and the balls and parties that follow.

Special access and tickets are reportedly available to those who contributed $50,000 to the inaugural committee or who helped “bundle” larger sums from multiple individual donors, the centre said.

The committee refused to accept money from corporations, registered lobbyists, unions or political action committees.

Entertainers such as Halle Berry, Samuel Jackson and Sharon Stone donated heavily, as did behind-the-camera moguls including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Jeffrey Katzenberg, the centre said, citing data downloaded from the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s Web site.

“While Americans are hoping for real change in Washington, many deep-pocketed donors are hoping money still buys them access and influence,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the non-partisan money-in-politics watchdog group.

“If history is any guide, these wealthy individuals, as well as the corporations and industries they represent, may more than recoup their investment in Obama through presidential appointments, favourable legislation and government contracts,” Krumholz said.

People with Wall Street ties — 118 of them — gave $3.6 million; lawyers gave $2.5 million; and donors from the TV, movie and music businesses gave $1.7 million, the centre said.

The centre’s analysis of inauguration donors was posted on its Web site at www.opensecrets.org.

Editing by Vicki Allen

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