Read

Search form

Rewarding Money In Politics, Elite Obama "Bundler" Nodded for France Ambassdorship

Rewarding Money In Politics, Elite Obama "Bundler" Nodded for France Ambassdorship
Tue, 6/17/2014 - by Michael Beckel
This article originally appeared on The Center for Public Integrity

President Barack Obama has selected Jane Hartley, a major campaign bundler, to be the next U.S. ambassador to France, the White House has announced.

Hartley, the chief executive officer of the Observatory Group, an economic and political consultancy, ranks as the 26th elite political fundraiser Obama has tapped for an ambassadorship since his second term began in January 2013.

Collectively, these political rainmakers have raised more than $18.4 million for Obama over the years, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of federal records. Hartley herself has raised at least $820,000.

The Obama campaign did not reveal the exact amount of money its bundlers raised, only offering broad ranges.

Hartley, for instance, was credited with raising more than $500,000 for Obama's 2012 re-election efforts, and between $200,000 and $500,000 for his 2008 campaign. She also bundled $120,000 for Obama's 2009 inauguration.

But documents leaked to the New York Times indicate she actually raised more than $2.2 million for Obama since 2007, including about $1.4 million during his 2012 campaign.

Individuals who raise funds from family members, friends or business associates are known as "bundlers," and they are often rewarded by campaigns with special access and other perks.

By law, only lobbyists who bundle campaign contributions are required to be disclosed — although Obama listed all of his bundlers who raised at least $50,000 during both his 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

Hartley, who also previously worked in the White House during the Carter administration, is the first bundler to be elevated for a posh diplomatic post since March, when Obama selected attorney Andrew Schapiro to be the next ambassador to the Czech Republic.

In the meantime, Obama quietly named more than a dozen career United States Foreign Service officers to ambassadorships in far-flung nations such as Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and Paraguay.

For years, both Democratic and Republican presidents have awarded some plumb ambassadorships to top campaign bundlers.

But this year, Obama, who since 2013 has almost exclusively nominated bundlers or other political backers to posts in western and central Europe, has increasingly drawn fire for the practice.

In February, several of his nominees with fundraising backgrounds demonstrated little experience with, or knowledge of, the countries where they may soon represent U.S. interests.

After one — George Tsunis, a hotel magnate and campaign bundler who Obama had nominated as the next ambassador to Norway — bungled several responses to questions during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, both Democrats from Minnesota, announced plans to oppose him. Minnesota is home to the largest population of Norwegian-Americans.

All the while, the American Foreign Service Association, the main trade group and labor union for career foreign service officers, issued new guidance on the characteristics and skills a good ambassador should possess. In April, the group also announced the State Department would begin publishing nominees' qualifications online.

The U.S. Senate must confirm each of Obama's ambassador picks.

Originally published by The Center for Public Integrity

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Bernie Sanders supporters traveled to Philadelphia from every corner of the country this week to show their enduring support for his candidacy.

This week, as the DNC rages on, we're talking state surveillance – digging deep into the past and present with surveillance expert, Chip Gibbons from Defending Dissent

"We are in a political moment where we can dismantle not only the racist neoconservative Republican Party, but also the racist and equally destructive neoliberalism of the Democratic Party."

More than $50 billion in foreign aid is pumped into Africa annually – but did you know that roughly the same amount is illicitly siphoned out of the continent?

Democratic National Convention, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Bernie protesters, progressives, Equality Coalition for Bernie Sanders, Migrants Rights March, Juntos, immigrant rights, Democracy Spring

We’re supposed to have a government of and by the people, but the government we have is only interested in protecting the rights of big corporations and billionaires.

Greek privatizations, transit privatization, Panhellenic Railway Association, TrainOSE, water privatization, Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewage, Greek austerity policies

Late last month, the Panhellenic Railway Association took to the streets to protest a slew of public transport privatizations scheduled to take place later this year. "The government defiantly and shamelessly gives away the national wealth," it said.

Posted 5 days 3 hours ago
Democratic National Convention, DNC, DNC protests, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Bernie supporters, Food & Water Watch, March for a Clean Energy Future

More than 10,000 people calling for a “clean energy revolution” filled the streets here Sunday.

Posted 2 days 7 hours ago
anti-fracking protests, Keep It In the Ground, protester arrests, undercover agents

Emails obtained through an open records act request show that the Lakewood Police Department in Colorado collected details about a BLM oil and gas lease protest from undercover officers as the event was being planned.

Posted 5 days 2 hours ago

“Reverse redlining” flooded communities of color with toxic mortgages, practically ensuring default.

Posted 5 days 12 hours ago
#WebOfDenial, climate denial, fossil fuel industry, Exxon climate lies

In the U.S. Senate, champions for climate action and accountability are loudly putting the blame on think tanks and denier-for-hire front groups that have created doubt about climate science.

Posted 5 days 12 hours ago
anti-fracking protests, Keep It In the Ground, protester arrests, undercover agents

Emails obtained through an open records act request show that the Lakewood Police Department in Colorado collected details about a BLM oil and gas lease protest from undercover officers as the event was being planned.

Democratic National Convention, DNC, DNC protests, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Bernie supporters, Food & Water Watch, March for a Clean Energy Future

More than 10,000 people calling for a “clean energy revolution” filled the streets here Sunday.

ISTANBUL, Turkey

Soldiers versus police versus a mob in the newsroom of Turkey’s most-watched news channel — and dozens of reporters to document it all.

Greek privatizations, transit privatization, Panhellenic Railway Association, TrainOSE, water privatization, Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewage, Greek austerity policies

Late last month, the Panhellenic Railway Association took to the streets to protest a slew of public transport privatizations scheduled to take place later this year. "The government defiantly and shamelessly gives away the national wealth," it said.

“Reverse redlining” flooded communities of color with toxic mortgages, practically ensuring default.