All told, the deep-pocketed donors, whose ranks also included lobbyists, trade associations, tobacco companies, and energy suppliers, forked over an estimated $3.5 million to fund the festivities.
Though governors across the nation have scaled back or outright nixed inaugural festivities, Corbett – aside from cancelling a parade – kept with the tradition of recent Pennsylvania governors by celebrating in relative style, and by having private donors pick up the check.
“This is how it’s historically been done,” Corbett spokeswoman Kirsten Page said. “No taxpayer dollars are spent; it’s historically been paid for through corporate donations.”
But wait, longtime Harrisburg citizen activist Eric Epstein said. Wasn’t it Corbett who vowed on the campaign trail to change the culture in the Capitol? Epstein stated an inauguration funded by huge money from huge interests does not send that message.
“How is this a change in culture?” Epstein, founder of the self-styled watchdog group RocktheCapital.com, asked as he eyed the list of donors. “These are the same people renting access to the governor. These are the same people sitting at the same table – the only thing that is changed is who is sitting at the head of the table.”
The Corbett inaugural committee had for weeks declined The Inquirer’s requests to provide a list of corporate sponsors, saying the information was not yet complete.
But the donors were listed on an inaugural program that was handed out to attendees at Tuesday night’s $150-per-ticket ball.
Top-dollar givers, who donated $25,000 to $50,000 and were placed in the “diamond” category, included Range Resources, a major Texas natural gas driller; IBEW Local Union 98 and the Carpenters Union of Philadelphia; Peco Energy Co. and Exelon Generation; and charter-school operator Vahan Gureghian of Gladwyne.
Major pharmaceutical companies, other natural gas drillers, and law firms populated the $25,000 “platinum” category: GlaxoSmithKline, Chesapeake Energy, and the Cozen O’Connor law firm among them.
Scores of additional donors who gave $15,000 or less were listed in the “gold,” “silver,” and “bronze” categories. Not listed were the hundreds who paid $150 each for tickets to the ball.
source : www.philly.com
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Submited at Monday, January 24th, 2011 at 12:04 am on Politics by samantha
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