President Donald J. Trump's Inauguration on Friday, January 20. Photo: The National Park Service

Arts Patrons Among Biggest Donors to Trump Inauguration

A 510-page disclosure report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday shows that a number of well-known arts patrons made gifts in support of Trump’s inauguration, Dan Duray and Helen Stoilas of the Art Newspaper report.

Among the donors are art collector and hedge fund manager Steven Cohen—known for his high-profile $137.5 million purchase of Willem de Kooning’s Woman III, 1952–53, from David Geffen in 2006—who gave $1 million; Hushang Ansary, the former Iranian ambassador to the US who helped Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts grow its Islamic art collection, and his wife, who together contributed $2 million; and Henry Kravis, the husband of New York MoMA’s board president Marie-Josée who donated $1 million.

For previous inaugurations, the amount individuals were permitted to donate was capped by each administration. George W. Bush only accepted gifts up to $100,000 in 2001 and up to $250,000 in 2005. Barack Obama accepted gifts only up to $50,000 and refused donations from lobbyists and corporations during his inaugural, but accepted gifts of up to $250,000 and contributions from corporations of up to $1 million in 2013. Trump did not cap how much an individual donor could contribute and claimed to accept corporate gifts of up to $1 million. He ultimately raised $107 million.

According to the New York Times, casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson gave $5 million—the largest amount ever donated to an inauguration. Other major gifts came from interest groups, the energy sector, and Wall Street. Trump is not required to report how his administration spent the money or whether there were any funds leftover. His inaugural committee said that any extra money from Inauguration Day will be given to charities.