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Bundling For Ambassadorships

- December 4, 2012

Obama May Nominate Bundler Anna Wintour As The Next Ambassador To The U.K. Or France

Obama Is Considering Top Bundler Anna Wintour As His Next Ambassador To Either The U.K. Or France. "President Barack Obama is considering nominating Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, as his next ambassador to either the U.K. or France as he looks to reward his biggest fundraisers with embassies never out of fashion, according to two people familiar with the matter." (Hans Nichols, "Vogue Editor Wintour Said To Be Possible Appointee As U.K. Envoy," Bloomberg, 12/4/12)

  • Wintour Is Competing Against Obama's Finance Chairman, Matthew Barzun, For The London Position. "Wintour, 63, may have some competition for the London posting; Matthew Barzun, finance chairman of Obama's presidential campaign, also is interested in the job, officially known as ambassador to the Court of St. James's, said the people, who requested anonymity when discussing possible personnel moves. (Hans Nichols, "Vogue Editor Wintour Said To Be Possible Appointee As U.K. Envoy," Bloomberg, 12/4/12) 
  • "Both Wintour And Barzun Were Among Obama's Biggest Bundlers Of Donations In The Campaign, With Each Raising More Than $500,000 To Help Re-Elect The President." (Hans Nichols, "Vogue Editor Wintour Said To Be Possible Appointee As U.K. Envoy," Bloomberg, 12/4/12)

Wintour, Who Threw Lavish Fundraisers At The Homes Of Sarah Jessica Parker And Harvey Weinstein, Is "Among Obama's Top 10 Fundraisers." "Wintour, born in the U.K. and now a U.S. citizen, is among Obama's top 10 fundraisers, two of the people said. She co- hosted a $40,000-a-plate event in June at the New York City home of actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Then in August, she hosted a dinner that cost $35,800 per person at the Westport, Connecticut, home of movie executive Harvey Weinstein." (Hans Nichols, "Vogue Editor Wintour Said To Be Possible Appointee As U.K. Envoy," Bloomberg, 12/4/12)

Obama Has A History Of Rewarding His Big Donors With Ambassadorships

In 2007, Obama Promised To Turn The Page On "Special Interests Who've Turned Our Government Into A Game Only They Can Afford To Play." OBAMA: "The cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests who've turned our government into a game only they can afford to play. They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we're here today to take it back. The time for that kind of politics is over. It is through. It's time to turn the page." (Senator Barack Obama, Remarks Announcing Campaign For President, Springfield, IL, 2/10/07)

"In His First Term, Obama Nominated 59 Ambassadors, Including 40 Bundlers, Who Lacked Experience In The Diplomatic Corps." "Rewarding donors with ambassadorships is a staple of the presidency, and Obama's picks are slightly above the 30 percent average for envoys drawn from outside the career foreign service, said Susan Johnson, the president of the American Foreign Service Association. In his first term, Obama nominated 59 ambassadors, including 40 bundlers, who lacked experience in the diplomatic corps." (Hans Nichols, "Vogue Editor Wintour Said To Be Possible Appointee As U.K. Envoy," Bloomberg, 12/4/12)

  • Susan Johnson, President Of The American Foreign Service Association: "When He Ran For Election In 2008, On Several Occasions, Obama Declared His Intent To Appoint More Career People, And That Has Not Actually Happened." "'When he ran for election in 2008, on several occasions, Obama declared his intent to appoint more career people, and that has not actually happened,' said Johnson. 'Our expectations were lifted, only to be dashed by reality.'" (Hans Nichols, "Vogue Editor Wintour Said To Be Possible Appointee As U.K. Envoy," Bloomberg, 12/4/12)

Obama Awarded His "Fervent Supporters" From 2008 With Diplomatic Appointments. "When President Obama named Hillary Rodham Clinton secretary of state after the 2008 election, he turned a rival into a loyalist. But he also lost Mrs. Clinton as one of the most popular Democratic fund-raisers for his re-election effort, since the nation's chief diplomat is not allowed to engage in campaigning. The same restriction applies to the State Department's ambassadors around the world, nearly two dozen of whom were fervent supporters of Mr. Obama in 2008, raising tens of millions of dollars for his first presidential campaign. He rewarded these backers with coveted diplomatic appointments to London, Paris, Tokyo and other capitals. Now, as federal employees, they are legally barred from reopening their gilt-edged contact lists." (Mark Landler, "Obama Rewarded '08 Fund-Raisers, Barring Some From Helping Now," The New York Times , 7/24/12)

  • "More Than A Dozen Current Or Former Ambassadors Were Listed By The 2008 Campaign As Being In The Top Tier Of Bundlers." "More than a dozen current or former ambassadors were listed by the 2008 campaign as being in the top tier of bundlers - fund-raisers who collected a minimum of $500,000 in checks from other donors and bundled them together. The campaign does not disclose specific figures above $500,000; the total for several of these people most likely ran into the multimillions." (Mark Landler, "Obama Rewarded '08 Fund-Raisers, Barring Some From Helping Now," The New York Times , 7/24/12) 
  • "Nearly 80 Percent Of Bundlers Who Raised $500,000 Or More For Mr. Obama Were Appointed To Posts In The Administration." "Nearly 80 percent of bundlers who raised $500,000 or more for Mr. Obama were appointed to posts in the administration, according to a 2011 report by the Center for Public Integrity, which tracks campaign finance issues. While most envoys got perches in coveted capitals like Prague, Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen or Oslo, a few were sent to commercially or politically delicate posts like Canada and South Africa." (Mark Landler, "Obama Rewarded '08 Fund-Raisers, Barring Some From Helping Now," The New York Times , 7/24/12)

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