When some complained about the costs of a lavish inaugural celebration by incoming president Donald Trump, he and the nonprofit group created to plan and run it, promised to cover the cost and raise “much, much more” for charity in late 2016.
The 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee raised a record $107 million, most of it from wealthy donors and corporations and spent about 95 percent of the funds to put on the most lavish collections of balls, events and celebrations in presidential history.
Five percent went to charity. Pals of Trump and First Lady Melania got much, much more.
The largest single payment — $26 million — went to WIS Media Partners of Marina del Rey, Calif., a one-shot entity created in Dec. 2016 by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a socialite known for planning Manhattan galas and associate of Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Ms. Wolkoff is also a friend of first lady Melania Trump and drops her name frequently when she wants something from others. After the inaugural, the first lady brought Ms. Wolkoff into her White House office as “a senior adviser.”
Sources close to the inaugural committee says Mrs. Wolkoff received a direct payment of $1.26 million personally for her “services” to them.
Records also show the “team” that produced the TV “reality” show and Mark Burnett, also received large payments. Trump insisted that team be used.
Trade show promoter Hargrove Inc. in Lanham, Md, received $25 million. “Society Organizers” David Monn of New York, received $3.7 million. Moon also produced “society events” and a state dinner during Barack Obama’s presidency.
According to The New York Times the committee spent $9.4 million on travel, $4.6 million on salaries, $500,000 on legal fees and $237,000 on fundraising.
One of the 208 employees of the inaugural committee was former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, currently under indictment on multiple charges by the special counsel investigating the president, the White House and the campaign team. Gates received $100,000 for his time on the inaugural operation.
And charity? Around $5 million, which includes:
A million each for the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and evangelical group Samaritan’s Purse for their work on hurricane relief in the Gulf Coast, Florida and Caribbean.
The White House Historical Association received $1 million and the “Vice President’s Residence Foundation, which decorates and furnishes the temporary home for VP Mike Pence at the U.S. Naval Observatory, received $750,000.
The tax return shows the committee with $2.8 million left and says it will donate whatever might be let “once remaining expenses were paid.” That total was not released.
The inaugural costs paid by the committee with funds from donations do not include the more than $100,000 in security costs by the taxpayer for that one day or the expenses borne by the District of Columbia for traffic control and security.
(Our thanks to The New York Times for locating much of the information in this article.)
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