What Happened to Trump’s Leftover Inaugural Money?

What Happened to Trump's Leftover Inaugural Money?

WASHINGTON — Six months after he was sworn in, the committee that raised a record $106.7 million for President Trump’s inaugural activities has not detailed how much remaining inaugural money sits in its bank accounts or revealed the charities officials have said will receive the surplus money.

Thomas Barrack, a California investment manager who oversaw the inaugural committee, said that information will be disclosed later this year.

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Filings “later in the fall will show that millions of dollars of reserve funds will be allocated to various charities, institutions, and foundations in an amount that surely will exceed any previous inauguration,” Barrack said in a statement sent through a spokeswoman, who would not elaborate on the timing.

Barrack’s statement came in response to a USA TODAY inquiry about the leftover funds.

Trump shattered records with his inaugural committee haul, doubling the $53 million President Barack Obama collected in 2009 for his first swearing-in festivities. Billionaires, corporate interests and a several NFL team owners were among the big donors. A single contributor, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, shelled out $5 million.

Taxpayers foot the bill for the actual swearing-in on the west side of the U.S. Capitol and the immense security and cleanup costs associated with the event. But private donations pay for all the other celebrations, from glitzy inaugural balls to concerts on the National Mall.

Inaugural committees have to disclose donations of $200 or more to the Federal Election Commission 90 days after the event but are not required to detail their spending or surpluses in those reports.

There are few restrictions on how surplus funds are used. But in April, Trump’s committee announced that leftover inaugural money would go to charities to be disclosed later.

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It’s not unusual for inaugural committees, which operate as nonprofit groups, to have surplus funds or take some time to close their books.

Internal Revenue Service filings from 2006, two years after President George W. Bush’s second inauguration, show the committee directing $1.68 million in leftover money to various non-profits, including $500,000 to what would become the National Museum of African American History and Culture and $100,000 to then-first Lady Laura Bush’s foundation supporting libraries.

It closed its operations in early 2007.

The surplus millions from Obama’s first inaugural committee helped underwrite renovations to the Oval Office and some public outreach programs at the White House, including the annual Easter Egg Roll, said Steve Kerrigan, who was chief of staff for Obama’s first inaugural committee. Extra cash also was rolled into the committee that funded Obama’s second inauguration.

Kerrigan chaired Obama’s second inaugural committee, which raised nearly $44 million, and wrapped up without any significant leftover funds, he said. Kerrigan said he signed the final paperwork dissolving the committee just three weeks ago.

Trump has faced scrutiny over his past pledges to donate inaugural money to charity.

During the 2016 campaign, for instance, The Washington Post chronicled examples of promises of charitable donations from the billionaire that failed to materialize.

Trump has pledged to donate his hotel profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury. But a Trump Organization policy document released earlier this year to a congressional watchdog committee said the company does not plan to comprehensively identify foreign profits at Trump hotels.

Trump has honored a promise to turn over his salary to charity, donating $78,333 — the equivalent of his first-quarter paycheck — to the National Park Service in April.

Trump’s allies take pride in how much inaugural money they raised for his swearing-in festivities. And the president himself has demonstrated an intense interest in how his inauguration stacked up against Obama’s, protesting media coverage of the crowd size.

In the statement to USA TODAY, Barrack, a longtime friend of the president’s, called the inauguration “one of the greatest baton passings in American history!”

“Our ability to raise more private funding than any inaugural committee before is a tribute to the generosity of the American people and their excitement to ‘make America great again,’ ” Barrack said, referring to Trump’s campaign motto.

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