Stars of Hollywood, high-tech open wallets for Obama party
AFP - Saturday, December 27
WASHINGTON (AFP) - - Stars of Hollywood including Halle Berry and Steven Spielberg and bosses of high-tech giants like Google and Microsoft are opening their wallets to help fund Barack Obama's inauguration party.
Obama, in keeping with his vow to purge US politics of influence peddling, has ordered that the names of all inauguration donors, withheld by previous presidents, be published on the Internet.
Lists of those stumping up for the inauguration on January 20 show that Spielberg and his wife, Kate, each gave the maximum 50,000 dollar donation.
Actress Halle Berry, listed as working for her Bumper Inc. production company, also gave 50,000 dollars, as did comedian and actor Jamie Foxx.
A Sharon Stone, of California is also on the list with a 50,000 donation.
Obama's inauguration fund is also attracting big contributions from titans of the US Internet and software industry.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who served on Obama's campaign economic advisory board, gave 25,000 dollars, as did Google co-founder Larry Page and Google vice president Marissa Mayer.
Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft gave 50,000 dollars, as did his wife, Connie.
Former basketball star and businessman Earvin "Magic" Johnson also gave 25,000 dollars and five members of the family of billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros racked up 250,000 dollars between them.
The fund is required to pay for the long list of balls and other commemorative events on and around inauguration day. Big money donors can expect special ticket privileges and VIP access to events.
The list of fundraisers is detailed on the Presidential Inaugural Committee website at pic2009.org/donors.
Obama's committee, in contrast with previous inaugural committees, has already said it will not accept contributions from corporations, political action committees, labor unions, registered lobbyists or non-US citizens.
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Stars of Hollywood including Halle Berry, seen here in October 2008, and Steven Spielberg and bosses of high-tech giants like Google and Microsoft are opening their wallets to help fund Barack Obama's inauguration party.
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