(U-WIRE) RALEIGH, N.C. – Citing information from the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the Associated Press reports the majority of the $40 million raised to pay for the ceremonies came from $100,000 donations provided by companies with vested interests in manipulating future government decisions. Among the contributors cited:

o American Airlines, which is awaiting federal approval to buy TWA.

o AT&T, which wants to expand the number of customers a single cable television company can serve.

o Citigroup, which supports legislation that would make filing for bankruptcy more difficult.

o General Electric, which is awaiting federal approval to buy Honeywell.

o Microsoft, which the Justice Department is suing for antitrust violations.

o Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation, who supports legislation to let television networks own more stations.

o Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, which opposes legislation to block use of tax-exempt bonds to finance new sports facilities.

o Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, which opposes legislation to add prescription drug benefits to Medicare.

Of course, it’s the right of the companies under the First Amendment’s freedom of expression guarantees to express their support for Bush and their patriotism for the next president through their wallets; but the connections between the inaugural festivities are symbolic of the connections this big business administration will have throughout its four years.

Money is a medium for trade. In this context, cheap or rather, not so cheap pomp and circumstance is being traded for invaluable political power – or at least political influence.

The notion that freedom means freedom from government bureaucracy ignores that fact that other large, powerful organizations – like corporations and special interest consortiums – can be just as detrimental if not more so, thanks to their under-represented presence in mainstream politics.

As our capital city inevitably becomes the hotbed of partisan bickering it has always been, this inauguration proves we should tune out the loud, catch-phrased hoopla and strain to hear the sweet million-dollar somethings corporate America is whispering into the new administration’s ear.

-Staff editorial
The Technician (North Carolina State U.)

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