Got $100,000 to spare? It could buy you a sleepover at the White House.
As the presidential election heats up, so too does the competition for political donations. It is estimated that the amount spent on the presidential election this year will be around $2.5 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That includes funds raised by the candidates, Democratic and Republican party committees and outside spending groups, including super PACs.
To keep the money flowing into the their coffers this election season, both President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have leveraged their friends and influence to offer tempting rewards to major donors. They are not, of course, the first politicians to do so.
Check out our list of some of the craziest things a political donation can buy you:
$3,000: Hunting Trip With The Vice President
Republican donor and attorney Harry Whittington gave $1,000 in 2000 and $2,000 in 2004 to George W. Bush's presidential campaigns. A small price to make history: on a quail hunting trip in 2006, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/13/AR2010101307173.html" target="_hplink">Bush' vice president, Dick Cheney, accidently shot Whittington in the face</a>.
$40,000: Dinner With Sarah Jessica Parker
President Barak Obama has parlayed the star power of his Hollywood supporters into fundraising prizes this campaign season, including a dinner party with Sarah Jessica Parker for $40,000. If you don't have that much cash, <a href="http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/06/07/politics/campaign-fundraising/" target="_hplink">$10,000 can get you the chance to shake the president's hand and pose with him for a photo</a>.
$50,000: Private Seminar With Karl Rove
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has offered wealthy donors unusual levels of access to both himself and other Republican political stars during this campaign season, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/us/politics/for-wealthy-romney-donors-up-close-and-personal-access.html?pagewanted=all" target="_hplink">the <em>New York Times</em> reported</a>. At a three-day GOP fundraising retreat in Utah earlier this summer, donors who gave $50,000 could sign up for a private seminars with GOP leaders like Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice and John McCain.
$100,000: Night In The Lincoln Bedroom
Call it the most expensive hotel in the country. At least <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/1997-02-26/politics/clinton.lincoln_1_clinton-white-house-lincoln-bedroom-cnn?_s=PM:ALLPOLITICS" target="_hplink">two dozen donors who gave a $100,000 or more to President Bill Clinton's re-election campaign in 1997</a> were rewarded with a sleepover in one of the the White House's most historic nooks, the Lincoln Bedroom.
$250,000: Ambassadorship To France
The ambassador to France gig has always been a tempting reward for party loyalists who give handsomely. As early as 1904, Theodore Roosevelt reportedly used the job as <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=vmLX3Js3QBYC&pg=PT160&lpg=PT160&dq=theodore+roosevelt+french+ambassador+new+york+senator+Chauncey+Depew&source=bl&ots=qP1f4_XYNt&sig=Jg5kEZpKtgvfEtQsYDcoTixiZSk&hl=en#v=onepage&q=theodore roosevelt french ambassador new york senator Chauncey Depew&f=false" target="_hplink">a carrot for helping the Bull Moose candidate raise $250,000</a> -- $6.4 million in today's dollars -- for his election campaign. More recently, President Bill Clinton gave the job to <a href="http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1993/Clinton-to-Nominate-Pamela-Harriman-as-Ambassador-to-France/id-d232172a7e3712c0236290992af854d8" target="_hplink">Democratic donor and fundraiser Pamela Harriman</a>.
$1 Million: Presidential Pardon
Denise Rich (pictured at right) has given generously -- <a href="http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,99302,00.html" target="_hplink">at least $1 million according to Time magazine</a> -- to various Democratic Party causes over the years. And President Bill Clinton did not forget her generosity. On his last day in office in 2001 Clinton signed off on a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/22/opinion/22lardner.html?pagewanted=all" target="_hplink">controversial pardon</a> for her fugitive ex-husband. Denise Rich has since given up her American citizenship and her U.S. tax bill <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/09/entertainment-us-usa-immigration-deniser-idUSBRE8680MN20120709" target="_hplink"> and moved to Europe last fall</a>.
$5.5 Million: Brand New Sports Stadium
State politics are not immune to donor money: The Minnesota Vikings have spent an estimated $5.5 million in lobbying efforts, <a href="http://www.twincities.com/vikings/ci_20883380/vikings-stadium-team-spent-115-000-lobbying-lawmakers" target="_hplink">giving at least $115,000 to state politicians</a> in the first five months of 2012, to ensure passage of a new $975 million stadium for the NFL team. Much of the cost to build the stadium <a href="http://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2012/06/stadium-postmortem-how-wealthy-nfl-owner-got-millions-taxpayers" target="_hplink">will be funded by taxpayers</a>.
$25 Million: Blind Eye To Foreign Investments
Casino mogul and heavy-hitting Republican donor Sheldon Adelson has given at least $25 million to GOP super PACs. What's in it for him? The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/29/super-pac-donors-2012_n_1711696.html#slide=1251941" target="_hplink">U.S. government is looking into whether Adelson's company has violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Macau</a>, where the company has been accused of bribing officials and profitting from prostitution.
$393 Million: Pro-industry Energy Policy
Between 2000 and 2008, the oil and energy industry paid nearly $400 million to lobby the federal government and more than $82 million in donations to politicians, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/347/oil-politics.html" target="_hplink">according to PBS</a>. They got a return on their investment: Passed under President George W. Bush, the 2005 Energy Policy Act rolled back regulations and paved the way to allow widespread fracking.
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