Officially In: Rufus Gifford — From Obama for America to Denmark

By Domani Spero

On June 14, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Rufus Gifford as the next Ambassador to Denmark. The WH released the following brief bio:

Rufus Gifford most recently served as Finance Chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.  He served as Finance Director for Obama for America from 2011 to 2012, and as Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011.  From 2008 to 2009, he was the California Finance Director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, after working as a political consultant in California from 2004 to 2008.  From 1998 to 2004, Mr. Gifford was Creative Executive for Davis Entertainment, an independent film company based in Los Angeles.  He is currently a Federal Club Member of the Human Rights Campaign and a Partner in Conservation for the World Wildlife Fund.

He received a B.A. from Brown University.


US Embassy Copenhagen, Denmark
State Department Photo

Here is WaPo:

Gifford, an indefatigable — some beleaguered donors have said maybe too indefatigable — fundraiser, was the key person behind the campaign’s $1 billion war chest.

The longtime Democratic fundraiser and activist in the gay community would be the second openly gay ambassador named to a NATO ally. The first, James Hormel, served in the latter part of President Bill Clinton’s second term as ambassador to Luxembourg.

Gifford’s ex-partner Jeremy Bernard — also a formidable fundraiser and major Democratic pol — is the first man and the first openly gay person to be White House social secretary. Gifford and Bernard, who remain good friends, had been called one of Washington’s top “power couples.”

If confirmed, Mr. Gifford would succeed Washington lawyer Laurie Susan Fulton who was appointed into office in May 2009 and departed post in February 2013.  Senior Foreign Service Officer Stephen Alan Cristina is currently Charge d’Affaires a.i.  Of the last 19 ambassadors appointed as chief of mission to Denmark since 1960, 17 or 89.5% had been political appointees.


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Officially In: John B. Emerson — From Capital Group to the Federal Republic of Germany

—By Domani Spero


On June 14, President Obama announced his intent to nominate John B. Emerson to be the next Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. The WH released the following brief bio:

John B. Emerson is President of Private Client Services for the Capital Group Companies, a global investment management firm.  From 1994 to 1997, Mr. Emerson served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House.  From 1993 to 1994, he was Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Presidential Personnel at the White House.  From 1987 to 1992, he was the Los Angeles Chief Deputy City Attorney.  He began his career in 1978 as an attorney with Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg, and Tunney in Los Angeles.  Mr. Emerson is a Member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, a position he has held since his appointment in 2010.   He served as Chairman of the LA Mayor’s Council on the Arts from 2004 to 2005.

Mr. Emerson received an A.B. from Hamilton College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago. listed Mr. Emerson as one of President Obama’s bundlers who raiser over $500,000 in the 2012 campaign. According to Roll Call, Mr. Emerson was also the 2012 co-chairman of the DNC’s Southern California finance committee.  The couple’s bio via PCIP says that Mr. Emerson’s wife, Kimberly Marteau Emerson is an attorney and civic leader who served in the Clinton Administration as Director of Public Liaison for the U.S.  Information Agency (USIA), where she was the domestic spokesperson, and traveled as the senior USIA political liaison on President Clinton’s overseas trips to the Far East, Europe, Russia and the former Soviet Union.

If confirmed, Mr. Emerson would replace Philip D. Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and former National Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee who was appointed to the US Embassy Berlin in September 2009.  According to the AFSA statistics, non-career ambassadors make up 70.6% of all ambassadorial appointments to Germany since 1960



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