updated 12/30/2008 9:19:49 PM ET 2008-12-31T02:19:49

Make a minimum donation of $5 to the Presidential Inaugural Committee and get a shot at a ticket to the historic inauguration of Barack Obama ... or is that a minimum donation of $25? ... or maybe no donation at all?

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Each entry requires an essay on what the inauguration means to you. The essay is required whether a donation is made or not, committee spokeswoman Linda Douglass said.

The offer of inaugural tickets to 10 people who each may bring one guest will take into account diversity, she said, adding that fundraising is not the main goal of the effort.

The inaugural committee sent out an e-mail pitch that focused on donations, however, suggesting that those who make a minimum donation of $5 or more could get a trip to the inaugural.

"Make a donation of $5 or more right now," the e-mail says. "You and a guest could receive your ticket to history."

After clicking on the link to make a donation, the donation options start at $25, going up to $2,500, with an "other" option at the end. And the Web page also says that you can make a pitch for the inaugural tickets without donating anything.

"Unlike past inaugurations, this year's event will not be paid for by Washington lobbyists," the e-mail says. "The Presidential Inaugural Committee is not accepting donations from PACs, federally registered lobbyists, or corporations. Help start this administration off right — independent of the special interest donors who have shaped Washington for too long."

For those selected, the committee will provide transportation and lodging, the swearing-in and admission to an official inaugural ball.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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