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

U.S. negotiators are working to permanently block a landmark regulatory proposal in the E.U. aimed at addressing climate change – and instead to force European countries to import the world's dirtiest oil.

This summer, the CIA's private Amazon Web Services cloud—shielded from the public behind a wall of national security—becomes operational.

The study released Monday by Human Rights Watch raises questions about the criminal justice system's ability to respect civil rights and due process since 9/11.

Extensive research and reports commissioned by the fracking industry are treated as seminal, informative works within the U.K. government – but to date, no one outside industry vouches for its safety.

“It doesn’t make sense that I work hard, help the restaurant make money and yet I can’t eat there or support my family on just one job. This is not the America that I believe in."

In the 80s and 90s they called them "IMF Riots" – but what the biggest international investment organizations and consultants now see happening looks a whole lot bigger.

Posted 5 days 18 hours ago

Part 3: Chris Hedges interviewed Harvard professor and MayDay SuperPAC founder Lawrence Lessig about his plans to break the hold of big money on American elections.

Posted 5 days 18 hours ago

Patient details were shared with organizations including private health insurance companies, many based in the United States.

Posted 5 days 18 hours ago

Investors led by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, and PIMCO, the world’s largest bond-fund manager, have sued some of the world’s largest banks for breach of fiduciary duty.

Posted 6 days 18 hours ago

The aggressive foreclosures and water shut-offs are a deliberate scheme to shock the population, drive long-time residents out of the city center, seize property and gentrify downtown Detroit and the waterfront.

Posted 5 days 18 hours ago

Monsanto snuck a "rider" last week into the latest Senate agricultural legislation, giving the biotech giant blanket immunity from USDA action to halt potentially harmful GMO crops.

Rather than burying their heads in the sands, political and business leaders are maintaining the pretense to tackle climate change while actually focusing instead on how to manage its impacts—through militarization-—in the interests of elites.

U.S. Rejects Key Global Warming Benchmark

Critics worldwide lashed out at the U.S. for withdrawing its support from established, base-level goals to limit global warming to below 2 degrees celsius (3.6 F).

Rich Kids of Instagram/Tumblr

Chrystia Freeland's new book, "Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else," explores a new breed of global billionaires.

Occupy Film Screening and Panel

Occupy.com will be hosting a night of short films from Occupy Wall Street, followed by a panel discussion about the role of filmmaking in social movements. If you're in Los Angeles, please join us.

Sign Up