ABC, other companies spring for inaugural

Jan. 20, 2005 at 9:16 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- President Bush's second inauguration comes with an estimated $40 million price tag, picked up by big U.S. corporate donors.

The privately funded festivities Thursday include a huge fireworks display over the city plus lavish balls and star-studded concerts, ABC News reported.

Along with General Motors, Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods, ABC News itself also will host an inaugural brunch reception Friday, the network disclosed.

Ethics laws typically prohibit such corporate wining, dining and donating, but the inauguration carries the same exception to the rules as the Democratic and Republican conventions.

"This is one of the last places where you can put up a huge contribution to directly benefit the interests of the president of the United States," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a government watchdog group.

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