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Dec. 7, 2012

Obama Inc.

Statement of Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen

Contact: Angela Bradbery (202) 588-7741; Jake Parent (202) 588-7779; for broadcast media, Barbara Holzer, (202) 588-7716

Last week, Public Citizen called on President Barack Obama to refuse to accept corporate funding for his inauguration, as he did in 2009. More than 30,000 people have signed a petition to Obama urging the same. For more information, visit http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/pressroomredirect.cfm?ID=3769.

Today’s decision by President Obama to accept corporate funding for inaugural festivities is deeply disappointing. The American people have a right to expect something other than an inauguration brought to them by Bank of America.

That the corporate-funded inaugural festivities will fall on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, is not just ironic given President Obama’s stated support for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision holding that corporations can spend unlimited amounts on elections, it undermines the case for corporate-free elections.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has stated that it will not accept funds from lobbyists, foreign corporations, TARP recipients that have not repaid their government loans or others that do not pass its vetting process. But every corporation’s donations create a conflict of interest, because they all have business before the government in one way or the other. The problem with donations from lobbyists is that they expect something in return for their contribution. The situation is exactly the same with corporate contributors, virtually all of whom employ lobbyists.

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