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political notebook

For inaugural, Obama will accept corporate donations

President Obama will accept unlimited donations from corporations — but no money from lobbyists or political action committees — to finance his 2013 inaugural festivities, a spokeswoman for his inaugural committee said Friday.

The move is a break from Obama’s policy in 2009, when he refused corporate donations for activities related to the inauguration. The committee also said the events surrounding Obama’s inauguration will be smaller in scope than four years ago; the White House is mindful of the fragile state of the economy and does not want a show of opulence.

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“Our goal is to make sure that we will meet the fund-raising requirements for this civic event after the most expensive presidential campaign in history,’’ the spokeswoman, Addie Whisenant, said in a statement, explaining the reason the committee will take corporate money. She added that the names of donors would be posted to a website ‘‘to ensure continued transparency.’’

The issue of whether the Presidential Inaugural Committee would accept corporate money to pay for the parade, balls, and other inaugural festivities has been a thorny one for Obama.

Companies that donate money may have business before the White House, raising questions of conflict of interest.

The committee has some guidelines for the type of corporate money it will accept, an official said.

Corporations that accepted money from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, used to rescue the financial system during the economic meltdown of 2008 and 2009, will not be able to donate unless they have paid back the money.

GOP committee aided Akin
in spite of disapproval

To the bitter end, establishment Republicans maintained that Representative Todd Akin, the Republican nominee challenging Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, was dead to them, cut off for his comment that women could not get pregnant in the event of ‘‘legitimate rape.’’

Turns out he was not so dead. Newly released campaign finance documents show the National Republican Senatorial Committee transferred $760,000 to the Missouri Republican Party in the first days of November as the state party opened an ad blitz to try to close the gap with McCaskill.

In the end, it was not even close.

McCaskill, once considered the most vulnerable senator standing for reelection, crushed Akin 55 to 39 percent.

The transfer is not a huge surprise. The Missouri Republican Party’s final $1 million in advertising spending far exceeded the amount of cash it had on hand, and all eyes shifted to the Republican senatorial committee as the real source of the money.

National party officials were eager to keep Akin out of the Republican limelight, worried his views on rape and abortion would taint other Republicans struggling with a debilitating gender gap, including the presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

But the documentation is now clear. The Republican senatorial committee tried to help Akin — and failed.

On Nov. 1, the committee transferred $360,000 to the Missouri Republican State Committee, the same day the Republican National Committee gave Missouri Republicans $77,000.

The next day, the Republican senatorial committee threw in another $400,000.

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