Arkansas inauguration sets lower bar for corporate support | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 12, 2015

Arkansas inauguration sets lower bar for corporate support

Posted By on Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 6:45 AM

click to enlarge HOLDING LINE ON CORPORATE INFLUENCE: Asa Hutchinson will use corporate cash to pay for his inaugural festivities, along with ticket receipts, but is holding the line on corporate money at the levels set by Mike Beebe for his corporate support.
  • HOLDING LINE ON CORPORATE INFLUENCE: Asa Hutchinson will use corporate cash to pay for his inaugural festivities, along with ticket receipts, but is holding the line on corporate money at the levels set by Mike Beebe for his corporate support.

Reuters reports on solicitation of corporate cash
to pay for gubernatorial inaugural events, focusing on a $10 million tab for an inauguration in Illinois of a Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, who ran as a reformer. Arkansas's practice of seeking corporate sponsorships for inaugurations is noted, but we're on the low end.

Rauner, a Republican, is allowing corporate donors to kick in as much as $100,000 for inauguration events, and letting individuals spend up to $25,000.

He is hardly alone. Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, a Democrat, will accept up to $50,000 per donor. Corporate sponsorship packages for inaugural events by Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, both Republicans, cost $30,000 and $25,000 respectively.

"We're seeing more and more inaugural activities that have become more expensive, more lavish, and they're being bought and sold by people who have business pending before government," says Craig Homan, a lobbyist for Public Citizen, a group advocating for transparency in public financing.

Spokespersons for Walker and Hutchinson did not respond immediately for comment. Beth Melena, a spokesperson for the Wolf inauguration committee, said a donor list will soon be posted on their website.

In Arkansas, inaugural cash has typically flowed through committees controlled by political parties and, in times, contributions and expenditures are reported through required quarterly financial reports. That is the case in Arkansas this year. A spokesman has said that the donor levels for the Hutchinson event were set at the same level set by the Beebe inaugural committee. You might recall some controversy over inaugural expenses in years past, particularly the news that $23,000 in inaugural money was used to buy clothes and jewelry for Janet Huckabee for the inauguration of Mike Huckabee.

Hutchinson's events begin tonight with a barbecue at the Museum of Discovery. Sorry, sold out.

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