- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2012

D.C. lawyer Timothy Broas, who has funneled more money to the political campaigns of President Obama than nearly anyone else, last week was nominated by Mr. Obama to become the next U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands.

As a campaign “bundler,” Mr. Broas collected more than $500,000 for Mr. Obama’s 2012 campaign, raising money from family members, colleagues and other wealthy associates. Four years ago, he assisted Mr. Obama’s successful bid for the presidency by raising between $200,000 and $500,000.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Mr. Broas becomes the latest of dozens of Obama “bundlers” who are already serving as ambassadors.

The fundraiser’s appointment was first reported by the Center for Public Integrity.

This election cycle, 117 people have raised $500,000 or more each for the president’s re-election efforts — totaling at least $59 million.

Some 141 people have bundled between $200,000 and $500,000, or $30 million to $70 million, while 120 people have bundled $100,000 to $200,000, an analysis by The Washington Times showed.

Among new bundlers disclosed this month were figures as eclectic as spiritual healer Deepak Chopra and Robert Pohlad, of the family that owns the Minnesota Twins.

Fifteen people, including actor Tyler Perry, raised more than half a million dollars in three months alone, between January and March of this year. Bundlers typically collect $35,000 checks — the maximum allowed to the national party, plus $5,000 to a campaign committee — often from both husband and wife.

The list of Mr. Obama’s 532 bundlers for this year’s campaign is dominated by lawyers, financial professionals and Hollywood celebrities.

The Center for Public Integrity found that at least 250 bundlers, including Mr. Broas, have been invited to the White House, and at least 68 bundlers or their spouses have received administration appointments, ranging from advisory economic boards to humanities posts.

Mr. Broas is a partner at the law firm Winston and Strawn, and also serves as a member of the board of trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, according to a White House statement.

In the past, not all of those who have been appointed to prestigious diplomatic posts after raising campaign funds have proven qualified for those jobs.

A State Department report tied 2008 bundler-turned-Bahamas Ambassador Nicole Avant to “dysfunctional leadership and mismanagement” and lengthy absences since she was appointed by President Obama, Foreign Policy magazine’s blog reported.

Mrs. Avant, who resigned from her Caribbean assignment in November, returned to her Beverly Hills, Calif., home and rejoined the ranks of Obama bundlers.

In a departure from his own precedent in 2008 as well as from standard practice for recent presidential campaigns, Mitt Romney, Mr. Obama’s likely opponent in November, has refused to release the names of his bundlers.