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

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

Article Tabs

A new in-depth report has revealed the influence the government-industry revolving door has had on Big Oil's ability to obtain four liquefied natural gas export permits since 2012 from the Obama Administration.

Forces both inside and outside the traditional labor movement united to campaign for a higher minimum wage for hotel workers in Los Angeles.

The Crosscheck purge list swamped GOP Senate margins in Alaska and Georgia, and likely provided the victory margins for GOP gubernatorial victories in Kansas and Massachusetts.

Among other human health and environmental violations, the TPP agreement will facilitate harsh legislation that further restricts free speech, privacy and innovation.

Attending Bilderberg is not a guarantee for holding high office – but it can often support a rapid rise to state power for politicians who impress the members and guests at the annual meetings.

This was the biggest scandal to ever hit the land recordation system in this country, and those who were responsible should be held accountable.

Posted 6 days 9 hours ago

The worldwide protest sentiment is not going away anytime soon.

Posted 6 days 9 hours ago

Over 300,000 Internet users contributed to our crowdsourced vision for free expression online in the 21st century. What matters most to the Internet community? Watch this animated video to find out.

Posted 6 days 9 hours ago

Raleigh resident Bibi Bowman says the fact that a police officer called her and told her to take down a Facebook post is an invasion of her privacy and a thinly-veiled attempt to intimidate her into silence.

Posted 3 days 9 hours ago

A proposed community-owned solar project on an abandoned coal mine in Arizona illustrates how cooperative economics make it possible to stop extracting fossil fuels — without leaving workers behind.

Posted 6 days 9 hours ago

A new Financial Times survey shows the majority of UK voters believe that instead of using harsh public cuts to peel back the deficit, other forms of extravagant government spending should be abolished.

A proposed community-owned solar project on an abandoned coal mine in Arizona illustrates how cooperative economics make it possible to stop extracting fossil fuels — without leaving workers behind.

Students are rejecting a proposed tuition hike that would raise their costs by more than $3,300 over the next five years.

Over 300,000 Internet users contributed to our crowdsourced vision for free expression online in the 21st century. What matters most to the Internet community? Watch this animated video to find out.

Proposed legislation would eliminate erratic scheduling and extend protections to part-time employees.

Sign Up