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Obama Nominates Fundraisers as Ambassadors

The long-standing presidential tradition of rewarding fundraisers and contributors with ambassadorships has continued politics as usual under President Barack Obama. On Friday, the president reinforced it with three new appointments.

Obama nominated John B. Emerson as ambassador to Germany. Emerson is a Los Angeles investment manager at The Capital Group Companies and was the 2012 co-chairman of the DNC’s Southern California finance committee.

Fundraiser James Costos has been nominated is to be ambassador to Spain. Costos is the openly gay Home Box Office vice president for global licensing, retail and consumer marketing.

Rufus Gifford has been nominated to be ambassador to Denmark. Gifford was the campaign’s liaison to the gay community. Gifford directed the Obama campaign finance operation in the 2012 election and was finance chairman of the 2012 inaugural committee.

Obama fundraisers who have served as ambassadors have had some problems. Nicole Avant, former ambassador to the Bahamas, resigned after a critical IG report in November 2011 Others involved with controversies include Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, and Cynthia Stroum, ambassador to Luxembourg.

First-term Obama appointments of fundraisers and bundlers include Louis B. Susman as ambassador to the United Kingdom; Daniel M. Rooney as ambassador to Ireland; Charles H. Rivkin as ambassador to France; James V. Roos as ambassador to Japan; David Carden as ambassador to Australia; William Eacho as ambassador to Austria; Norman L. Eisen as ambassador to the Czech Republic; Bruce Oreck as ambassador to Finland; Robert Mandell as ambassador to Luxembourg; Alan Katz as ambassador to Portugal; Alan D. Solomont as ambassador to Spain; Beatrice Welters as Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago; Theodore Sedgwick as ambassador to Slovakia; and Lauire S. Fulton as ambassador to Denmark; among others.

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