Obama taps more big donors for ambassadorships
- Obama taps more big donors for ambassadorships
Jun 12, 2009 - 12:16 AM (ET)
By MATTHEW LEE
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama on Thursday tapped four big Democratic Party donors for plum ambassadorships in Europe and Latin America while naming six career diplomats to posts in Africa, the Mideast and the Pacific.
Washington lawyer Howard Gutman, who raised more than $500,000 for Obama's campaign and personally contributed the maximum $4,600 to it, was nominated to be the next U.S. envoy to Belgium, the White House said in a statement.
Gutman also contributed $2,300 to now Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics.
Obama named former Virginia Lt. Gov. Donald Beyer to be ambassador to Switzerland and Luxembourg. Beyer, who made his money as a car dealer, raised more than $500,000 for Obama and also contributed $4,600 to his campaign, according to the center.
Vinai Thummalapally, a Colorado business executive and Obama friend who raised between $100,000 and $200,000 for the campaign and donated $4,500 to it, was named the next U.S. ambassador to Belize. Thummalapally's wife, Barbara, contributed $2,800 to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Obama also named Washington lawyer Mark Gitenstein, who donated more than $4,000 to now Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign and contributed $1,500 to Clinton's campaign to be ambassador to Romania.
Career diplomats were nominated on Thursday to be envoys to Burundi, Tunisia, the Marshall Islands, Oman and Suriname. Obama also chose retired Army Gen. Alfonso Lenhardt to be ambassador to Tanzania.