By: Mike Valerio
It now has a price tag that's passed the million dollar mark – the inauguration of Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe on Saturday. When it comes to the question of "who's paying for all of it?" most of the special interest and private money for the festivities comes from right here in the Richmond area.
According to an analysis of private donations, 45 percent of the contributions to the McAuliffe Inaugural Committee comes from the city of Richmond and Henrico County. Medical related industries, such as Richmond-based Anthem health insurance, lead dollar donations. The figure from healthcare companies now totals $180,000.
Energy companies have the second highest amount of donations, with a figure that's reached $135,000 as of Jan. 8, 2014. Coal company Alpha Natural Resources submitted a $25,000 contribution, roughly a month before Terry McAuliffe discussed in Alpha's hometown how he plans to work with the coal industry. Dominion Power also contributed to the Inauguration, sending $50,000 in late November.
Donations over $10,000 are currently disclosed. The current total expense figure for Saturday's events is now approximately $1.64 million, a figure that is expected to grow.
The inaugural contribution figures are provided by the Virginia State Board of Elections, as well as the Virginia Public Access Project.
View the list of donations here:
As for how much money the public pays? Taxpayers across Virginia currently send slightly more than half a million dollars to cover the pageantry and logistical expenses during the ceremonies in Capitol Square. Funds for the inaugural balls are covered by private donations to the McAuliffe Inaugural Committee.
The Virginia Department of General Services reports that the grandstands in the front of the Capitol cost $240,000 – the Inauguration's largest logistical expense. The House of Delegates has $250,000 in taxpayer funds to pay for a range of items, spanning from pens to bibles, as well as interpreters and Teleprompters.
Seven private individuals have donated between $10,000 and $25,000, including John O. Wynne, former head of the Virginian-Pilot's past parent company. The man who invented affinity credit cards, Boston businessman and McAuliffe business associate Howard Kessler, contributed $25,000.
Contributions and expenses will continue to be tabulated after Saturday's events, with a full review available by the middle of March. For now, the money all adds up to what will mark the end of McAuliffe's road to Richmond, and his first steps as governor.