Administration's Shortlist For Ambassador Appointments Includes Four Hollywood Donors
from the how-refreshing!-[eyerolls-and-sarcasm-tags-galore] dept
The Hollywood Reporter has taken a look at Obama's donor list and named a few loyalists who might be rewarded for their election-run largesse with an ambassadorial appointment. And, no surprise, many of the names have close ties with Hollywood.
Among the Barack Obama loyalists under consideration for ambassadorial appointments are Los Angeles-based White House decorator Michael Smith, 47; Hollywood philanthropist and television producer Colleen Bell, 45; industry money manager John Emerson, 57; and Tennis Channel chief Ken Solomon, 49. And the Westside L.A. dinner-party circuit has started buzzing with conversations about who else might be in the mix this time around.In addition to the title (which appointees get to hold onto for life), there's a bit of prestige and a salary of $150,000-180,000 attached to the job. In order to repay an industry for its nearly unwavering support, the administration may choose a few from its rank, both as a thank-you gesture and to ensure the "proper" mindset when approaching other countries about their "weak" IP laws.
According to sources, many of the candidates were among 100 guests invited to the White House in early December for an East Room dinner at which Obama and the first lady thanked longtime fundraisers and Democratic activists for their support. Among the Hollywood-connected contingent at the event were Emerson; Solomon; Wintour; Smith and his partner, HBO executive James Costos; Bell and her husband, soap opera producer Bradley Bell; political and philanthropic consultant Noah Mamet; Harvey Weinstein; and Hollywood political consultant Andy Spahn.
This, of course, is part of the "revolving door" process. If an appointee serves well in this position, it gets them a foot in the political door, which could lead to a political career... which would then lead to a post-career chairperson position or the like with the entertainment industry... which could lead to a lobbying position... and so on. The entertainment industries know this political game well, and Hollywood has been more active than most in the process, especially over the past several years.
Some will claim that these appointments have nothing to do with rewarding donors, like this unnamed person:
According to an administration insider: "There is no single thing that qualifies you to be an ambassador, but they have one thing in common: They have all earned the trust and respect of the president. He isn't going to choose someone just because they've raised $500,000. He has to know them."Of course, it's not all about the money. It's also about the industry itself. The entertainment industry has been a strong supporter of the Obama administration and has not been very shy about expressing its appreciation for the government's willingness to cater to its every need. It also hasn't held back when it thinks it has been wronged, as MPAA CEO Chris Dodd's post-SOPA-failure threat to withhold
So, if these candidates end up with ambassadorships, the posts will lay somewhere between thank you cards and olive branches, letting the entertainment industry know that the administration still wants its