President Obama has named Jane Hartley, an economic and political consultant who bundled more than half a million dollars for his reelection campaign, as the next ambassador to France.
The White House made the announcement Friday shortly after the president met with staff members at the embassy in Paris, the final event of his week-long tour through Europe.
Obama said Hartley brought "a wealth of experience and talent" to the job as top U.S. diplomat in France.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Hartley raised some $519,142 for the president's 2012 campaign — ranking her among the top 50 bundlers in his reelection effort.
Hartley and her husband, Ralph Schlosstein — who in recent months has donated thousands to the campaigns of Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) — hosted a $71,600-per-couple fundraiser for Obama in 2011 at their Park Avenue home.
While Hartley's fundraising efforts undoubtedly helped earn the attention of the White House, her resume should help deflect criticism that the nomination was merely a reward.
In her work at the Observatory Group, Hartley advised multinational corporations and financial institutions about how policy developments could affect their investments. Before that, she served as CEO of the G7 Group, a policy research firm that offered analysis and advice to the G7 countries, China, and international investment community. She also served in the White House office of Public Liaison during the Carter Administration, and as the director of congressional relations for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In a statement, Schumer applauded the appointment.
“Jane Hartley is a terrific choice for ambassador to France. She has a wealth of public and private sector experience; she is civic minded, hard-working and will make a great ambassador," he said.
The president's picks for ambassadorships to Western Europe have largely been culled from that list of top fundraisers in recent years.
Matthew Barzun, the national finance chairman for the president's reelection campaign, banked $1.2 million and was named to the top job in London. Jon Emerson, who raised at least $775,000 for Obama, was dispatched to Berlin, while former HBO executive James Costos, who with his wife raised at least half a million dollars for Obama, was named as Spain's ambassador.
The White House defended that practice earlier this year, saying Obama "finds qualified nominees for these posts from a variety of walks of life."
"Being a donor to the president’s campaign does not guarantee you a job in the administration, but it does not prevent you from getting one," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. "And the fact of the matter is the president has made nominations to ambassadorial posts and other posts from the ranks of the private sector, from government service, and has put in place qualified nominees across the board."
The top job at the U.S. Embassy in Paris has been vacant since 2013, when Ambassador Charles Rivkin departed to take a post as assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. Rivkin raised more than half a million dollars for the president's 2008 campaign, as well as an additional $300,000 for his inaugural committee.
— This story was updated at 3:34 p.m.