President Barack Obama’s new choices to represent U.S. interests in Belgium and the Dominican Republic were both key bundlers during his re-election campaign, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of records.
The move comes a week after Obama picked three major campaign moneymen to serve as ambassadors in Europe.
Denise Bauer — who served as the finance chair for Women for Obama during the president’s 2012 campaign — has been chosen to be the new ambassador to Belgium, the White House announced in a press release Friday afternoon.
Bauer, who has also served on the Democratic National Committee, raised at least $500,000 for Obama’s re-election efforts, according to information voluntarily released by the campaign.
The actual amount she raised could be much higher as the Obama campaign only used broad ranges to describe the activities of its bundlers, the highest of which was “more than $500,000.”
If confirmed by the Senate, Bauer will replace current U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman, who was also a major campaign bundler. He raised at least $775,000 for Obama’s 2008 campaign and first inauguration.
Meanwhile, Obama’s pick to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Caribbean island nation of the Dominican Republic is James “Wally” Brewster, an executive at the Chicago-based consulting firm SB&K Global.
Brewster — who is openly gay and sits on the board of the Human Rights Campaign Fund — also bundled at least $500,000 for Obama’s re-election efforts, along with his partner, Bob Satawake.
Brewster, if confirmed by the Senate, will replace Ambassador Raul Yzaguirre, an American civil rights activist who previously headed the National Council of La Raza.
Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, called Brewster an “excellent choice” for the position, in a press release.
Presidents have long rewarded top donors and fundraisers with plush diplomatic posts.
More than two dozen of Obama’s bundlers from his 2008 presidential run were awarded ambassadorships. Others received appointments, government contracts and stimulus funds, as the Center for Public Integrity previously reported.
On Friday, Obama also announced his picks for eight other ambassadorships, including former Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Australia.
Adam Wollner contributed to this report.
Help support this work
Public Integrity doesn’t have paywalls and doesn’t accept advertising so that our investigative reporting can have the widest possible impact on addressing inequality in the U.S. Our work is possible thanks to support from people like you.