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Michigan donors give $2M for Trump inauguration

Melissa Nann Burke, and Keith Laing
DetroitNews

Washington — Michigan donors contributed nearly $2 million to President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, including significant sums from corporate giants such as Dow Chemical Co., Quicken Loans and General Motors Co.

Among those giving to the inauguration were Detroit-based Quicken Loans, which donated $750,000 on Jan. 10. Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert never donated to Trump during the presidential campaign, although he briefly met the New York businessman after the candidate’s speech in August 2016 at the Detroit Economic Club.

During the primary campaign, Gilbert contributed $1.25 million to a super political action committee supporting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s failed candidacy. Hedging his bets, he also donated $100,000 to New Day for America, the super PAC supporting Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Gilbert and his wife, Jennifer, each gave $75,000 to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s Hillary Victory Fund, a joint-fundraising venture between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state Democratic parties.

Trump held a Sept. 30 fundraiser at Chrysler House that is owned by Gilbert and other investors, but the Quicken Loans chairman did not host the event.

Ford Motor Co. also gave $250,000.

A disclosure report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday said the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee raised more than $106.7 million since Nov. 29, including $1 million from Dow Chemical of Midland on Dec. 6.

“We have a long history of celebrating American heritage, including support for Mount Vernon, Ford’s Theater and presidential inaugural activities,” Ford said in a statement.

General Motors Co. offered up $200,000 on Jan. 6, in addition to an in-kind donation of $298,650 covering vehicles provided to the Inaugural Committee during the event itself on Jan. 20.

“As we’ve done previously, General Motors supported the inauguration as an important event in our nation’s political process,” company spokeswoman Laura Toole said.

Many top donors had access to Trump or administration officials during the inaugural festivities during the weekend of Jan. 20.

Since taking office, Trump has named GM CEO Mary Barra to a forum that will frequently advise him on economic issues and has tapped and Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris and Ford CEO Mark Fields for a White House initiative to boost manufacturing jobs.

Among the top individual donors to Trump’s inauguration was Detroit-based Walbridge construction company CEO John Rakolta Jr., who also supported Trump’s campaign efforts and gave $250,000 on Jan. 19 – the day before the inauguration.

Per Wickstrom, CEO of Best Drug Rehabilitation in Battle Creek, chipped in $100,000 on Jan. 19, and Ciena Healthcare Management CEO and President Mohammad Qazi of West Bloomfield Township gave $50,000 on Dec. 2.

Jackson National Life of Lansing donated $100,000 on Jan. 9, and DIBC Holding based in Warren gave $50,000 on Jan. 12.

Farmington Hills attorney Rodger D. Young gave $25,000 on Dec. 2, and Lansing-based developer Kris Elliott of the Evergreen Companies, donated $15,000 on Jan. 19.

Trump’s inaugural committee raised roughly two times as much money as President Barack Obama’s committee raised in 2009. The largest donor was GOP mega donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who gave $5 million.

Donations to the inaugural committee are separate from contributions made to Trump’s campaign or transition organization. Donors to the transition included $50,000 given Dec. 14 by family members of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is from the Grand Rapids area.

mburke@detroitnews.com

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