The Presidential Inaugural Committee has adopted a policy in a stark departure from 2009, when corporate contributions were banned and individual contributions limited to $50,000 to fund some of the Inauguration Day activities.
This time, the Inaugural Committee is welcoming contributions as high as $1 million from corporations and wealthy individuals to finance the affair.
Mega-corporations such as Microsoft and AT&T have pitched in for this year's effort. Both, as USA Today reported, have spent millions of dollars lobbying the federal government and were subsequently granted federal contracts, also worth millions.
This funding scheme has found its critics in some quarters: NPR's Peter Overby covered the reaction of members of the political money reform community. However, the issue has received almost no attention elsewhere.
The Inaugural committee is not just accepting big-money donations; they're actively soliciting them, with special VIP Inauguration packages given to individuals giving at least $250,000 and to corporations contributing $1 million.
It is sad that organizers feel that this funding method is necessary to successfully pull off the series of events planned for next week. Were they unhappy with the 2009 Inaugural festivities which didn't have corporate sponsors?
The solutions to this particular problem are not readily apparent, but it is clear that there has to be a better way.
So I put the question to you: If we are to achieve a fairly funded Inauguration to honor and celebrate the peaceful transition of power or, in this year's case, the reelection of a popular president, how would you do it? Leave a comment below telling us your solution.