Obama gives top fundraisers jobs in his administration

According to a USA TODAY analysis 40% of President Obama’s top fundraisers have been given jobs within his administration.

About 600 individuals and couples raised money to help fund Obama’s presidential campaign. 54 have been named to government positions, ranging from Cabinet and White House posts to advisory roles. The President has also appointed more of his fundraisers to ambassadorships than any president in four decades, drawing protests from groups representing career diplomats. The American Foreign Service Association, the diplomats’ union, found that more than half of the ambassadors named by Obama so far are political appointees, said Susan Johnson, president of the association. An appointment is considered political if it does not go to a career diplomat in the State Department. Traditionally about 30% of top diplomatic jobs go to political appointees, and roughly 70% to veteran State Department employees. Ambassadors earn $153,200 to $162,900 annually.

“It is time to end the spoils system and the de facto sale of ambassadorships,” Johnson said. “The United States is best served by having experienced, knowledgeable and trained career officers fill all positions in our diplomatic service.”

Among the top Obama fundraisers with jobs: former technology executive Julius Genachowski as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) and Nicole Avant, a music industry executive who is the top envoy in the Bahamas.

Others not on the campaign’s list of official bundlers also have reaped rewards such as Sacramento developer Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis, a fundraiser in Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential campaign. Kounalakis was nominated this month by Obama to serve as ambassador to Hungary. Clinton is now secretary of state.

Below is a list of the 54 fundraisers appointed to government jobs by the president. The campaign reported fundraising in broad ranges only.

RAISED MORE THAN $500,0000
Nicole Avant Ambassador to the Bahamas
Matthew Barzun Ambassador to Sweden
Don Beyer Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Jeff Bleich Ambassador to Australia**
Richard Danzig Member, Defense Policy Board
William Eacho Ambassador to Austria
Julius Genachowski Chairman of Federal Communications Commission
Donald Gips Ambassador to South Africa
Howard Gutman Ambassador to Belgium
Scott Harris General Counsel, Department of Energy
William Kennard Ambassador to the European Union**
Bruce Oreck Ambassador to Finland
Spencer Overton Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General
Thomas Perrelli Associate Attorney General
Abigail Pollack Member, Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino
Charles Rivkin Ambassador to France and Monaco
John Roos Ambassador of Japan
Francisco Sanchez Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
Alan Solomont Ambassador to Spain and Andorra**
Cynthia Stroum Ambassador to Luxembourg**
RAISED BETWEEN $200,000 and $500,000
A. Marisa Chun Deputy associate attorney general
Gregory Craig White House counsel
Norman Eisen Special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform
Michael Froman Deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs
Mark Gallogly Member, Economic Recovery Advisory Board
Max Holtzman Senior adviser to the Agriculture secretary
James Hudson Director, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Jeh Johnson General counsel, Department of Defense
Samuel Kaplan Ambassador to Morocco
Nicole Lamb-Hale Deputy general counsel, Commerce Department
Andres Lopez Member, Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino
Cindy Moelis Director, Commission on White House Fellows
William Orrick Counselor to the assistant attorney general
John Phillips Chairman, Commission on White House Fellows
Penny Pritzker*** Member, Economic Recovery Advisory Board
Bob Rivkin General counsel, Transportation Department
Desiree Rogers White House social secretary
Louis Susman Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Robert Sussman Senior policy counsel, Environmental Protection Agency
Christina Tchen Director, White House Office of Public Engagement
Barry White Ambassador to Norway
RAISED BETWEEN $100,000 and $200,000
Preeta Bansal General counsel, Office of Management and Budget
Laurie Fulton Ambassador to Denmark
Fred Hochberg President, Export-Import Bank of the United States
Valerie Jarrett Senior adviser to the president
Kevin Jennings Assistant deputy secretary of Education
Steven Rattner Treasury Department adviser
Miriam Sapiro Deputy U.S. trade representative**
Vinai Thummalapally Ambassador to Belize
RAISED BETWEEN $50,000 and $100,000
Eric Holder Attorney general
David Jacobson Ambassador to Canada
Ronald Kirk U.S. trade representative
Rocco Landesman Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
Susan Rice Ambassador to the United Nations

** Nominated, not yet confirmed by Senate

*** National finance chairwoman

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2 Comments

  1. […] does not go to a career diplomat in the State Department. Traditionally about 30% of top diplomatic Jobs go to political appointees, and roughly 70% to veteran State Department employees. Ambassadors earn […]

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