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Senator Cortez Masto Advocates for Greater Transparency in Presidential Inauguration Committees

With the 2025 presidential inauguration approaching, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto emphasizes the need for transparency in the use of funds by presidential inaugural committees. She highlights the importance of understanding both the sources of donations and the expenditure of these funds.

The Inaugural Committee Transparency Act

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Senator Cortez Masto has introduced the Inaugural Committee Transparency Act to increase oversight and public disclosure. This act aims to ensure that donations and expenditures by inaugural committees are transparent and accountable.

Tackling Potential Misuse of Inaugural Funds

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The senator expresses concerns over the potential misuse of funds by inaugural committees. She believes that the new legislation will prevent such misuse and ensure that inaugural committees do not become vehicles for corruption.

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Closing Loopholes in Political Financing

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Cortez Masto’s statement emphasizes the need to close existing loopholes in political financing. She points out that unlike campaign committees, inaugural committees currently face fewer restrictions on accepting donations.

Current State of Inaugural Committee Donations

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Under the current system, inaugural committees can accept unlimited funds from various sources, including corporations. This lack of restriction contrasts with the rules for campaign committees.

Proposed Disclosure Requirements

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The proposed legislation would require inaugural committees to disclose significant details to the Federal Election Commission. This includes the names and addresses of individuals donating $200 or more, and the purpose of their payments.

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Prohibitions and Requirements in the New Bill

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The bill aims to prohibit donations made on behalf of others and the personal use of donations. Additionally, it mandates that any remaining funds be donated to charity within 90 days of the inauguration.

Background: Concerns Raised in 2019

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Senator Cortez Masto first raised concerns about inaugural committee fund misuse in 2019. This was in response to reports of misused funds by former President Trump’s inaugural committee.

Comparison of Inaugural Committee Fundraising

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Trump’s inaugural committee raised over $100 million, significantly more than President Biden’s committee, which raised nearly $62 million. These figures are also higher than the amounts raised for former President Obama’s inaugurations.

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Investigations into Trump’s Inaugural Committee

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Federal prosecutors in New York and the District of Columbia’s attorney general launched investigations into Trump’s inaugural committee. These probes focused on the committee’s donors, finances, and activities.

Legal Settlements and Allegations

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The former president’s entities and the inaugural committee settled with the District of Columbia for $750,000 in May 2022. This settlement was related to allegations of misusing nonprofit funds and overpaying for event space.

Legislative Efforts in Congress

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Cortez Masto’s bill, first introduced in 2019, was referred to the Judiciary Committee. Similarly, Democratic Reps. John Sarbanes and Mary Gay Scanlon introduced the Inaugural Fund Integrity Act, focusing on expenditure disclosures and contribution limits.

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