Business Insider: Joe Biden touts transparency, but his presidential inauguration spending remains a money mystery as organizers won’t disclose who’s cashing in
Business Insider: Joe Biden touts transparency, but his presidential inauguration spending remains a money mystery as organizers won't disclose who's cashing in
Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration at noon Wednesday represents the high point of numerous inaugural festivities, most of them virtual or made-for-TV because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But as Biden raises tens of millions of dollars toward this celebration, including from corporate giants with big business before the federal government, his inaugural committee has so far refused to reveal how it’s spending its cash — despite touting a robust political money reform agenda heavy on enhanced transparency.
It’s a decision that’s irking several prominent progressive organizations. And they hope Biden will change his mind.
In the meantime, Biden’s decision means he’s keeping from public view information about who’s making money off his inauguration activities, such as consultants, operatives, and vendors. The public may also never know how the Biden inaugural committee spends any surplus cash it generates. …
The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives has already re-upped HR 1, a wide-ranging government ethics and political finance bill first introduced in the last congressional session, which includes significant changes to presidential inauguration funding. The Senate this week introduced a companion bill.
Contributions, for one, would be capped at $50,000 and publicly disclosed 24 hours after receipt. Inaugural committees would also be required to publicly disclose any disbursement it makes — along with the disbursement’s purpose. …
And while Biden should just disclose spending information voluntarily, said Beth Rotman, national director of money in politics and ethics for Common Cause, “it would also be great if Congress made this law.
“But democracy reform is really hard,” Rotman added. “You’re asking politicians to give up a lot of control, and these are not easy fights to win.”