President Obama on Tuesday nominated two major campaign bundlers to two of the most prized ambassadorships available anywhere – London and Rome – part of a pattern that has seen him reward at least 18 top fundraisers with plum diplomatic positions since 2009.
The White House said the post of ambassador to the United Kingdom will go, subject to confirmation, to Matthew Barzun, an Internet pioneer and investor who served as the Obama campaign finance chairman in 2008, as ambassador to Sweden from 2009-2011, and then again as finance chairman for the president’s 2012 campaign.
The ambassadorship to Italy will go to John R. Phillips, a Washington lawyer who chairs the president’s commission that selects candidates to be White House fellows. Phillips is the husband of Linda Douglass, a former network journalist who served as communications director for the Obama White House’s Office of Health Reform.
According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, Barzun bundled at least $500,000 for the Obama campaign in 2008 and at least $500,000 again in 2012; Phillips bundled at least $500,000 for Obama in 2012 and between $200,000 and $500,000 in 2008.
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