AT&T, Microsoft Among Corporate Donors to Obama Inaugural

AT&T Inc., whose political action committee backed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is among the first donors to President Barack Obama’s inaugural committee, according to a contributors list released yesterday.

Besides Dallas-based AT&T, the initial list includes St. Louis-based Centene Corp., San Francisco-based Genentech Inc. and Microsoft Corp. For his second inaugural, Obama reversed his 2009 policy and agreed to accept corporate contributions. Obama officially will take the oath of office in a private ceremony on Jan. 20, a Sunday, then deliver his inaugural speech and celebrate the occasion on Jan. 21.

The list released by the presidential inaugural committee doesn’t provide the size of the contributions. Four years ago, the committee identified its contributors by employer, city, and amount.

Addie Whisenant, a spokeswoman for the inaugural committee, said that in keeping with Federal Election Commission requirements, the group will “make public the final list of donors and the amounts they contributed” 90 days after the event.

The committee “is continuing its pledge of transparency for the American people and is taking extra steps to provide the public with ongoing updates about who is donating to the inaugural,” Whisenant said in an e-mail.

Stephenson Donation

AT&T’s PAC contributed $5,000 to Romney’s presidential campaign in September. In addition, AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson contributed $30,800 to the Republican National Committee in February. It was Stephenson’s largest campaign donation in more than two decades.

AT&T, the largest U.S. phone company, unsuccessfully sought permission to merge with T-Mobile USA Inc. The companies dropped their plans in December 2011 following opposition from the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission. The deal’s demise cost AT&T $4 billion in fees and airwaves given to T-Mobile’s parent, Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom AG.

Stephenson and FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, an Obama appointee, have disagreed over spectrum policies and the proposed merger.

A spokesman for AT&T, Michael Balmoris, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call or e-mail.

Employees of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft contributed more money to Obama’s re-election, $815,435, than those of any other company, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group.

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