Obama nominates campaign fundraiser as next ambassador to France

Center for Public Integrity

President Barack Obama has selected Jane Hartley, a major campaign bundler, to be the next U.S. ambassador to France, the White House announced Friday afternoon.

Hartley, the chief executive officer of the Observatory Group, an economic and political consultancy, ranks as the 26th elite political fundraiser Obama has tapped for an ambassadorship since his second term began in January 2013.

Collectively, these political rainmakers have raised more than $18.4 million for Obama over the years, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of federal records. Hartley herself has raised at least $820,000.

The Obama campaign did not reveal the exact amount of money its bundlers raised, only offering broad ranges.

Hartley, for instance, was credited with raising more than $500,000 for Obama's 2012 re-election efforts, and between $200,000 and $500,000 for his 2008 campaign. She also bundled $120,000 for Obama's 2009 inauguration.

Related: Obama taps Goldman Sachs executive as ambassador to Canada

But documents leaked to the New York Times indicate she actually raised more than $2.2 million for Obama since 2007, including about $1.4 million during his 2012 campaign.

Individuals who raise funds from family members, friends or business associates are known as "bundlers," and they are often rewarded by campaigns with special access and other perks.

By law, only lobbyists who bundle campaign contributions are required to be disclosed — although Obama listed all of his bundlers who raised at least $50,000 during both his 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

Hartley, who also previously worked in the White House during the Carter administration, is the first bundler to be elevated for a posh diplomatic post since March, when Obama selected attorney Andrew Schapiro to be the next ambassador to the Czech Republic.

In the meantime, Obama quietly named more than a dozen career United States Foreign Service officers to ambassadorships in far-flung nations such as Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and Paraguay.

Related: See the ambassadorships big money can bring

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This story is part of Primary Source. Primary Source keeps you up-to-date on developments in the post-Citizens United world of money in politics. Click here to read more stories in this blog.

Copyright 2014 The Center for Public Integrity. This story was published by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C.

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