The Washington Post

Ambassador chasers?

Loop Fans know that getting nominated and confirmed for a top administration job can be an ordeal.

(Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

For example, an Obama fund raiser — thus likely to be offered a top job in Washington, D.C. or at a fine embassy — got a brief letter about 10 days after the election from the high-powered law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, offering to help in any way they could.

“As we enter the post-election season and the second Obama administration begins to take shape,” the letter from partner Robert Rizzi began, “we would like to take the opportunity to share with you our recent column for the website of Corporate Counsel entitled ‘Improving prospects for Service in the Second Obama Term.’”

“Formal vetting procedures . . . financial disclosure requirements and government ethics regulations can create potential pitfalls for individuals who might be looking forward” to top jobs, Rizzi wrote.

He enclosed the column, which he said “draws upon our experience as the leading practice in Washington representing Presidential appointees, helping scores of individuals serve their country in Republican and Democratic administrations for more than 20 years.”

The column summarizes the issues that have derailed nominees over recent years — nannies, chauffeurs and forgetting to pay taxes as well as conflicts of interest, and cautions folks to “beware of Twitter and other ‘paper trails.’” (Probably too late for that.)

“If you have any questions about the confirmation process,” Rizzi says in the letter, “please do not hesitate to contact me. . .”

So we contacted Rizzi, who e-mailed that the solicitation letter “went to a number of Obama supporters” and that about eight to 10 have contacted the firm, which he said “represented more than 40 individuals” in the first Obama term.

Well, some folks chase ambulances, others chase Bentleys.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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