That’s a collective $3.5 million, and probably far more than that.
Of course, many of the less glamorous recent postings (Congo, Malaysia, and the like) went to career Foreign Service members. But the moneymen (and -women) got the nods for some of the sweetest jobs.
Washington lawyer Keith Harper, who brought in scads of money from the Native American community, was named to serve as the U.S. representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council (oh, hello, Geneva!). HBO exec Jim Costos, who along with his partner, celebrity designer Michael Smith, gave copiously, is heading to Spain. John Emerson, Obama’s pick for Germany, was the 2012 co-chairman of the DNC’s Southern California finance committee.
Denise Bauer, former finance chair for Women for Obama, was nominated for a Belgium posting. Chicago consultant Wally Brewster brought in big bucks — and a nomination to the Dominican Republic.
Miami lawyer Kirk Wagar, who was Obama’s Florida finance chairman for both presidential campaigns, is heading to Singapore, while philanthropist and mega-donor Alexa Wesner is Austria-bound.
And while he doesn’t number among the seven bundlers, Rufus Gifford — tapped for Denmark — was Obama’s fundraising director in 2012, and therefore credited with raking in his north-of-
$700-million war chest.
Those deep-pocketed folks who truly want to serve their country (by taking on diplomatic duties, of course) but haven’t yet gotten the official word shouldn’t despair. Several more donors are thought to still be in line for lovely embassies, including Azita Raji, who’s looking like a likely candidate for Switzerland, and heiress/philanthropist
, a contender for France.
The Obama White House hardly pioneered the concept of giving ambassadorships to top donors — it’s long been standard practice. Seems generosity never goes out of style.
A secretary who delivers
Talk about a high-class messenger service. Secretary of State John Kerry moonlighted as a courier during the 13-day round-the-world diplomatic mission he just returned from.
We hear he picked up the unlikely side gig when Sen. Johnny Isakson
(R-Ga.), one of his favorite former colleagues, asked for help in presenting a gift to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Kerry offered to deliver it himself, though he probably didn’t imagine the size of the job he was taking on.
The present turned out to be a life-size oil painting of Mahatma Gandhi by Georgia artist
, from Atlanta businessman R.K. Sehgal, and it wasn’t something Kerry could just slip into his bag: the 6-by-6-foot canvas was so large it had to be rolled up and stashed in the SecState’s personal cabin on the plane (a far classier ride than your typical deliveryman’s).