WASHINGTON — As they were during the presidential campaigns, lawyers and law firms are a major financial force behind the presidential inaugural festivities.
Lawyers and law firms are the second largest contributors thus far, kicking in $2.5 million (175 donations), according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which has analyzed contributions reported in advance of the event. They are second only to the securities/investment industry, which has donated a total of $3.6 million (118 donations).
The practice of financing inaugural activities with private donations goes back many years, according to the center. What differs from president to president, said the center, is the type and amount of money each inaugural committee decides to collect.
Although the government imposes no limits on contributions, the Obama inaugural committee capped donations at $50,000 per person. Those top donors reportedly get tickets to the swearing in ceremony, the parade and inaugural balls. The committee is not accepting contributions from corporations, labor unions, political action committees and registered lobbyists.
Among the lawyers at the top, $50,000 level are: Seattle asbestos lawyer Matthew Bergman of Bergman & Frockt; entertainment lawyer Skip Brittenham of Los Angeles’ Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie Stiffelman, Cook, Johnson, Lande & Wolf; Dorothy and Russell Budd of Dallas’ Baron & Budd; personal injury lawyer David Casey of San Diego’s Casey, Gerry, Reed & Schenk; personal injury lawyer Stanley Chesley of Cincinnati’s Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley; John Coffey of New York’s Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman; John Cogan of WilmerHale; Steven Cohen of Chicago’s Cohen Law Group; Thomas Cole of Sidley Austin; Alfred Engelberg of Palm Beach, Fla.; Susan Hassan of New York’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Donald Hinkle of Tallahassee’s Hinkle & Foran; Michelle Lerach of Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins in La Jolla, Calif.; Jeffrey McFarland of the Los Angeles office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges; Abby Milstein of New York’s Constantine Cannon; Charles Mostov of Los Angeles; Cantwell Muckenfuss of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Bruce Oreck of Boulder, Colo.’s Oreck Bradley Crighton Adams & Chase; Jock Smith of Atlanta’s Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith & Sistrunk; Clare Tayback of Quinn Emanuel; William Titelman of Washington, D.C.’s Bernstein, Liebhard & Lifshitz; Walter White of London’s Grundberg Mocatta Rakison, and Timothy Wright of Chicago’s Gonzalez, Saggio & Harlan.