The Presidential Inaugural Committee raised more than $4.5 million last week, increasing the total amount of donations to $18 million, or about half of the $35 million to $40 million it plans to raise to finance three days of events including fireworks, the swearing in, a parade and nine balls.
Money raised last week came from 25 corporate donors and 10 individuals who contributed $25,000 to $250,000, the maximum allowed by the committee. Three individuals and 11 corporations each contributed $250,000, according to the committee's Web site, www.inaugural05.com, which was updated Friday.
"We have seen a great deal of enthusiasm from people who are committed to ensuring that the 55th inaugural is a success," said Tracey Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the committee. "People understand that this is one of America's greatest traditions. . . . They are excited to be a part of it, and it is their generosity that makes the events affordable for everyday Americans."
The estimated cost of the three days of inaugural events does not include security, which planners have said will be the tightest in history.
Among those who contributed $250,000 last week was Alex G. Spanos of Stockton, Calif., owner of A.G. Spanos Co. and the San Diego Chargers. Carl H. Lindner of Cincinnati, owner of the Cincinnati Reds and a big financial backer of President Bush's during the campaign, also contributed $250,000. Another company owned by Lindner, American Financial Group Inc., also made a $250,000 contribution. The third top individual donor was Thomas F. Stephenson of Atherton, Calif.
All three men were "Rangers" in the 2004 campaign, Republican donors who raised at least $200,000 each for Bush's reelection.
The remaining corporations that contributed $250,000 last week to the inaugural committee were Cinergy Corp. of Cincinnati; AT&T; United Parcel Service; New Energy Corp. of South Bend, Ind.; Bank of America Corp.; Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.; and Strongbow Technologies Corp. of Burtonsville, Md.
Oracle Corp. of Rocklin, Calif., donated $225,000.
Pepsi-Cola Co. and Tyson were among the corporations that contributed $100,000 last week. The committee received 11 donations of $250,000, one of $225,000, 13 of $100,000, two of $50,000 and eight of $25,000.
Donors who contribute $250,000 become "underwriters" of the inauguration and receive tickets to balls and a lunch and dinner with Bush and Vice President Cheney. Those who donate $100,000 also receive tickets to events reserved for top contributors.