Who wants to go the presidential inauguration? Why, all of us. But only a lucky few will get the really good tickets. And then again, some people are paying big bucks to see the ceremony with Aretha Franklin, pastor Rick Warren, and John Williams—not to mention Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
The contributors list, released today by the Inaugural Committee, contains a lot of well known names. The top donors start with the family of Democratic fundraiser and financier George Soros, at $200,000. Soros and three members of his family sent in $50,000 apiece. That should get them some good seats.
Carol Burnett is a political bundler. This is not to be confused with bungler, or with political blunders. A bundler groups together small political donations into one big one. Burnett has bundled up $187,500 to give to the Obama Inaugural Committee. The cap for bundling is $300,000. The cap for individual donors is $50,000.
Other bundlers so far for the inauguration in the $300,000 group: music exec Nicole Avant, New York movers and shakers Barbara Lee Diamondstein-Spielvogel and husband Carl; Washington DC fundraiser Mary Pat Bonner. Also bundling so far: RealPlayer founder Michael Parham ($150,000); Hollywood political image consultant Andy Spahn ($100,000); Chelsea Piers owners Tom and Andrea Bernstein ($150.000) and Santa Barbara Democratic powerhouse Nancy Koppelman ($100,000).
The $50,000 also includes a host of Hollywood names: Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Jamie Lee Curtis and husband Chris Guest, Will Smith manager James Lassiter, director Ron Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx, “Back to the Future” director Robert Zemeckis, Muppets scion Lisa Henson, “West Wing” director Brad Whitford, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Global Green USA president Diane Meyer Simon (who enlists celebs like Leo DiCaprio for her causes), powerhouse attorney Skip Brittenham, “Cosby Show” producer Marcy Carsey, Harvard author Daniel Yergin, William Morris TV agent John Ferriter ("Project Runway," "Fear Factor") and commercial artist Dale Chihuly.
In the $25,000 group: director Reginald Hudlin, former Motown president and Democratic supporter Clarence Avant, Lionel Richie ex wife Brenda, James Farentino's ex-wife Debra, and “Terminator” producer Gale Hurd, who’s also the ex-wife of both Brian DePalma and James Cameron.
The best entry so far among donors: Keiran Brandabur Langer of San Anselmo, California. He sent in $250 and listed under “Employer”—“my kids.”