A campaign finance report filed Monday showed that Bowser’s inuagural committee spent $1,153,950 on the events, which included a 5K fun run, a kids party and, of course, an inaugural ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
The events were funded by nearly $1.3 million in donations from mainly corporate sponsor, who gave up to $10,000 each — five times the limits on contributions to Bowser’s actual campaign. Among those giving the maximum were Microsoft, Comcast, Xerox, and Deloitte, as well as numerous local real estate firms including Carr Properties, Donohoe, and JBG. Among the individual donors were Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and tech entrepreneur Raul Fernandez.
And here’s what their money was spent on: nearly $300,000 on event production, more than $200,000 on catering for the inaugural ball, around $100,000 on lighting and rigging for the convention center, $56,000 on sound production, $15,000 on an event planner for the kids party at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, $7,545 on security, $5,250 to rent metal detectors, $2,864 on T-shirts for the 5K, and $600 to rent scooters. Ballgoers sipped on $1,320 worth of donations from Moet Hennessy and nibbled on $8,430 with of cheese from Bel Brands, makers of Laughing Cow Swiss and other daily delights.
Ball headliner Sheila E. earned $35,000 for her performance, painter/performer David Garibaldi made $10,000, and thousands more were spent on other talent (including $600 on a performance by the Washington Redskins cheerleaders), plus more than $23,000 in travel and lodging expenses.
With the million-dollar inauguration, Bowser outspent predecessor Vincent C. Gray, whose inaugural ball cost about $714,000. Then as now, no taxpayer funds were spent on the festivities. And, thanks to an ethics bill championed by Bowser, the public is getting an accounting of the inaugural expenses within weeks rather than the year it took Gray to cough up financial details.