Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Three More E$tremely Qualified Ambassadors

Open Secrets reports that the Obama administration has named three more bundlers & big donors in latest Ambassador picks:

President Barack Obama has picked three big bundlers and donors to fill diplomatic posts to Spain, Norway and the European Union.

[TSB Note: why is it always Europe, and the nicer parts of Europe, at that? Aren't there any money bundlers who prefer the more exotic lands of Africa, the Near East, or Latin America? I can't relate. Hell, I won't even do a TDY to a diplomatic post unless it has at least a High terrorism threat level.]

The three new ambassadors bundled more than $1 million combined toward Obama's election efforts. Overall, they -- along with their immediate family members -- have contributed nearly $2 million to federal candidates since 1989.

Specifically, philanthropist, nursing home industry entrepreneur and former lobbyist Alan D. Solomont is slated to become the newest U.S. ambassador to Spain. Barry B. White, a partner at the law firm Foley Hoag, will be the new ambassador to Norway. And Carlyle Group executive and former Federal Communications Commission chairman William E. Kennard is Obama's choice to be U.S. representative to the European Union, a position that carries the rank of ambassador.

Solomont and Kennard each bundled more than half a million dollars to Obama's presidential campaign. For his part, White bundled between $100,000 and $200,000. The exact amounts are unknown because the presidential campaigns provided only broad ranges when they disclosed information about their bundlers.

Solomont has been a long-time money-raising force in Democratic circles. He headed Obama's fundraising efforts in the Northeast. Additionally, he has been a prolific contributor to federal candidates and committees. Along with his wife, Susan, and children, he has donated about $1.8 million since 1989, all of which has gone to Democrats.

This ranks Solomont as the largest personal contributor among Obama's ambassador picks to date, edging out donor and ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy by more than a quarter-million dollars.

This amount includes roughly $13,500 each to Obama and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who now serves as secretary of state. It also includes about $770,000 to the Democratic National Committee, $237,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $148,500 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $26,750 to the Democratic Party of Massachusetts -- his home state.

Over the years, he has also contributed large amounts to the campaign committees and leadership PACs of his home-state senators: $41,550 to John Kerry and $28,000 to Edward Kennedy.

While less prolific than Solomont, Barry White has also donated large sums to federal candidates, parties and committees. Along with his wife, Eleanor, he has contributed about $103,000 since 1989, of which 98 percent has gone toward Democrats.

Included in this sum: $10,200 in contributions to Obama and $2,000 to Clinton. Since 1993, he has also given $12,900 to the DNC. And since 1990, he's given $16,000 to Kerry's committees.

Kennard has also donated generously to candidates and committees over the years. Along with his wife, Deborah, he has contributed about $67,400 to Democrats since 1989 -- including $6,900 to Obama during his presidential run last cycle.

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