Officially In: Samuel L. Kaplan to Rabat

Rabat, the ParliamentImage via Wikipedia

On June 19, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Samuel L. Kaplan to be Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco. Official bio released by the WH below:

Mr. Samuel L. Kaplan is a founding member of Kaplan, Strangis and Kaplan, P.A. established in 1978. Clients of the firm include TCF Bank Savings fsb, The Minnesota Twins, Adams Affinity Group, Liberty Diversified Industries, Caldrea Home Care, Polaris Industries, Inc., Lupient Automotive Enterprises, and Davisco Foods International, Inc. Mr. Kaplan has served for over 25 years as General Counsel for the Minnesota Wine and Spirits Association.

Mr. Kaplan received his B.B.A. degree in accounting with distinction from the University of Minnesota and his J.D. degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Minnesota where he was president of the University of Minnesota Law Review, and received the Order of the Coif. He served as an adjunct professor of law during the early years following law school graduation. He is often a visiting lecturer at law school classes and speaker at continuing legal education programs.

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OpenSecrets.org of the Center for Responsive Politics has identified Mr. Kaplan of Minneapolis, MN as one of President O’s bundlers who raised between $100,000-$200,000 during the campaign. [Bundlers are people with friends in high places who, after bumping against personal contribution limits, turn to those friends, associates, and, well, anyone who’s willing to give, and deliver the checks to the candidate in one big “bundle”]. Public Citizen has also identified Mr. Kaplan as one of the Obama bundlers who donated $5,000 to the transition.

If confirmed, Mr. Kaplan would replace Thomas T. Riley, a Bush Pioneer and presidential friend who was appointed US Ambassador to Morocco in 2003, during George W. Bush’s first term.

In July 1, 1917, the American Legation at Tangier had been converted into an Agency and Consulate General. The status of the mission was changed in 1925 to Diplomatic Agency and Consulate General, and in 1933, to Legation again. Embassy Rabat was established on Jun 11, 1956, with William J. Porter as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim. Four of the last five US Ambassadors to Morocco had been political appointees.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-19-09


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Officially In: Matthew Barzun to Stockholm

Stockholm, Sweden 064 - Drottningholm palaceImage by Claudio.Ar via Flickr

On June 19, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Matthew Barzun to be Ambassador to Sweden. Official bio released by the WH below:

Mr. Barzun is the president at BrickPath LLC, where he advises and invests in Internet media companies. Prior to BrickPath, Mr. Barzun served as the Executive Vice President for CNET Networks’ Business Technology group. Mr. Barzun was responsible for helping further cement the leadership position of CNET Networks’ business technology brands, including News.com, ZDNet, TechRepublic, and Builder.com. Prior to that position, Mr. Barzun was chief strategy officer of CNET Networks, where he advised the CEO and the executive committee on business and organizational alignment across the company’s divisions, including leading the efforts to define and communicate the company’s mission, values, and corporate goals.

Mr. Barzun graduated magna cum Laude from Harvard College.

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OpenSecrets.org of the Center for Responsive Politics has identified Mr. Barzun of Louisville, KY as one of President O’s bundlers, raising a minimum of $500,000 for the campaign. [Bundlers are people with friends in high places who, after bumping against personal contribution limits, turn to those friends, associates, and, well, anyone who’s willing to give, and deliver the checks to the candidate in one big “bundle.”] Public Citizen has also identified Mr. Barzun as one of the Obama bundlers who donated $5,000 for the transition.

If confirmed, Mr. Barzun would replace Michael Wood, George W.’s close friend and fraternity brother at Yale who was the US Ambassador to Sweden under Bush’s second term. The last time we had a career diplomat served as US Ambassador to Sweden was in 1989-1992 when Charles Edgar Redman was assigned there.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-19-09

DoS Nominees: More Senate Holds and Jams?

Ellis Mom's Strawberry JamImage by TheArtNerd via Flickr

Laura Rozen of The Cable reported on June 19 that “a Congressional source says that Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) put a hold on all State Department nominees earlier this week because he is not satisfied with the information he has been receiving from the administration on the progress of arms control negotiations with Russia.”

Over twenty State Department nominees are still pending in the SFRC. The following have been cleared by the Senate panel but with a blanket hold could be kept from going to a unanimous consent Senate floor vote:


Ellen O. Tauscher
, of California, to be Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, vice Robert Joseph, resigned. Jun 16, 2009 Reported by Mr. Kerry, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report. [The Cable reported unconfirmed reports that Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has placed a blanket hold on all State Department nominees].


Kurt M. Campbell
, of the District of Columbia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (East Asian and Pacific Affairs), vice Christopher R. Hill, resigned. Jun 16, 2009 Reported by Mr. Kerry, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report. [The Cable reported unconfirmed reports that Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has placed a blanket hold on all State Department nominees].


Harold Hongju Koh
, of Connecticut, to be Legal Adviser of the Department of State, vice John B. Bellinger III, resigned. May 13, 2009 Reported by Mr. Kerry, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report. [Anonymous hold; unconfirmed reports that the hold was placed by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and David Vitter (R-LA)].


Jeffrey D. Feltman
, of Ohio, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister- Counselor, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Near Eastern Affairs), vice C. David Welch, resigned. May 19, 2009 Reported by Mr. Kerry, Committee on Foreign Relations, without printed report. [The Cable reported on May 22 that Carl Levin (D-MI) placed a hold on this nomination]

Laura Rozen in the same report writes that one source says “Republicans are threatening to put appointments for the entire administration on hold due to their ire over the scheduling of Obama’s Supreme Court justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor for a July hearing.”

Oh, sweet joy! Don’t you just love ire?

Ire — personified as one of the deadly sins, fatal to one’s spiritual development and progress, but what the heck …

President Bush nominated Judge Sam Alito on October 31, 2005 as one of the Supremes. The WH sent his nomination to the Senate on November 10, 2005. The Senate voted to confirm Judge Alito as the 110th Justice of the Supreme Court on January 31, 2006. About three months, more or less 80 days after the Senate received the nomination!


Judge John Roberts
was nominated by President Bush as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States on September 5, 2005, his nomination was sent to the Senate on September 6, 2005, and he was confirmed on September 29, 2005. Less than a month; he got his confirmation via a bullet train in 23 days!

President Obama announced the nomination of U.S. appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor of New York for the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009. Judge Sotomayor’s nomination was sent to the Senate on June 1st. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy reportedly has set July 13 as start date for her nomination hearings. That’ll be 43 days after her nomination was sent to the Senate, and that’s just the start of the hearings. Ugh! I bet somebody will put a hold on her nomination, too – maybe for wearing a pink suit to her nomination hearings. Or as pay back for something, anything …

And you wonder why folks get jaded with politics?

Update:
See The CableConfirmation Logjam Breaks?

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