Money and Democracy

Published — April 26, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Obama nominates elite fundraiser for top diplomatic spot

Bundler Timothy Broas tapped for Netherlands ambassadorship


Timothy Broas, a top fundraiser for President Barack Obama, is now the nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands.

Broas, a partner at the D.C. law firm Winston and Strawn, has raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s re-election efforts as a bundler, meaning he has been credited for raising money from friends, family or business associates.

He is one of only 117 bundlers who have raised at least half-a-million dollars for Obama, the Democratic National Committee and Democratic parties in battleground states. During Obama’s presidential bid four years ago, he also bundled between $200,000 and $500,000 for Obama’s campaign.

Individuals are capped in how much they can contribute to politicians, but there’s no limit on how many other people they can turn to and ask for money. Those who help candidates collect large sums are often rewarded with perks such as access, appointments or government contracts, as the Center for Public Integrity has previously reported.

More than two dozen of Obama’s elite fundraisers have been appointed ambassadors, including to the Bahamas, Finland, United Kingdom, Japan and South Africa.

In addition to bundling money for Obama, Broas has been a generous financial supporter of politicians – almost exclusively Democrats.

Broas has personally donated more than $230,000 to federal candidates, parties and political committees since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and only two Republicans have benefited from his financial largess.

Broas donated $500 to GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole during his 1996 bid, and he gave $2,000 to President George W. Bush in 2004 —a year he also backed Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), and gave $25,000 to the DNC.

Notably, this isn’t Broas’ first presidential appointment from Obama: In December 2010, Obama nominated Broas to be on the board of trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington, D.C.-based, think tank created by Congress in 1968.

The D.C. lawyer has also been a frequent guest to the White House.

According to records released by the Obama administration, Broas has visited the White House 39 times since 2009, including eight visits with the president and five West Wing meetings with Pete Rouse, a top adviser who served a stint as Obama’s chief of staff and is now the president’s counselor.

Federal law only requires that campaigns specifically detail how much money bundlers who are registered lobbyists raise, and none of Obama’s bundlers are registered lobbyists.

The Obama campaign voluntarily discloses its bundlers in four tiers: $50,000-100,000; $100,000-200,000; $200,000-500,000 and $500,000-plus. It is impossible to tell exactly how much each bundler raised.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has not released any information about his bundlers beyond that required by law. Romney’s 22 disclosed lobbyist-bundlers have collectively raised nearly $3 million for his campaign.

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