Millions flocked to Washington, DC this weekend and waited for hours in sub-freezing temperatures to witness the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, an event that will cost a cool $170 million.
Extensive security costs along with the countless inaugural parties and “endless rentals” really run up the bill for the weekend, which is jam-packed full of events.
The swearing in ceremony itself cost $1.24 million.
The federal government estimates that it will spend approximately $49 million for the inaugural weekend, with the rest of the total coming from private donors.
“We have a budget of roughly $45 million, maybe a little bit more,” Linda Douglass, spokeswoman for the inaugural committee. That’s more than the $42.3 million in private funds spent by President Bush’s committee in 2005 or the $33 million spent for Bill Clinton in 1993.
“The money is going toward providing events which we hope are going to connect people, make them feel like we are all in this together and reinforce the notion that when we pull together, we’re stronger,” Douglass said. “And we need to pull together to face the challenges that are before us today.”
Washington, DC along with Virginia and Maryland have also requested $75 million from the federal government to help pay for inaugural necessities, like extra police, fire and medical services.
Despite all the donations, Obama’s team has made donations much more restrictive than in the past. Obama has capped individual donations to $50,000 per person, substantially lower than the $250,000 cap that President George W. Bush put on his inauguration. Notable donors include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Google founder Larry Page.