January 23, 2020

Cortez Masto: Inaugural Committees Must be Held to a Higher Standard of Transparency

Washington, D.C. – In response to a recent lawsuit alleging that President Trump’s inaugural committee abused its nonprofit status to enrich the Trump family, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) renewed her calls to pass her Inaugural Committee Transparency Act. This legislation would increase oversight and public disclosure of how presidential inaugural committees spend the millions of dollars they raise and help prevent the misuse of committee funds.

“The recent allegations that President Trump’s inaugural committee spent more than $1 million – far above market rates – to book a barely-used ballroom and accompanying catering services at the Trump Hotel during the President’s 2017 inauguration are disturbing. Presidential inaugurations are opportunities for the American people to celebrate the successes of our democracy, not convenient fronts for big corporations and dark money donors to funnel money into the pockets of the President’s family and friends. If this Administration is serious about rooting out corruption, it should begin by supporting legislation that will ensure the American people know who is donating to inaugural committees and how that money is being spent. I’ll continue fighting in the Senate to pass this important bill and ensure future inaugural committees are held to a higher standard of transparency.”


Senator Cortez Masto introduced the Inaugural Committee Transparency Act of 2019 to mandate transparency for any future presidential inaugural committee and make sure that these committees do not become vehicles for corruption or ‘pay to play’ politics. She introduced the bill in February, but it has not been taken up by the Majority. Her legislation would:

  • Require an inaugural committee to disclose to the FEC the name and address of every person to whom any disbursement of $200 or more is made and the purpose of the disbursement;
  • Prohibit donations on behalf of another person;
  • Prohibit converting donations to personal use; and
  • Require that any remaining funds be donated within 90 days of the inaugural ceremony to a 501(c)(3) charity.

A related provision was included in the For the People Act, which passed the House in March. Majority Leader McConnell has refused to let the Senate take action on this important legislation to safeguard our elections and root out government corruption.