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Big Obama campaign donors get rewarded

world Updated: Jun 26, 2009 11:53 IST
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President Barack Obama has selected for ambassadorships in Europe two of his presidential campaign’s biggest fundraisers, extending a pattern of rewarding political supporters.

Obama chose career foreign service officers to head US embassies in Latvia, Benin and Zimbabwe.

Obama said on Thursday he will nominate William Eacho, chief executive officer of Carlton Capital Group, a private investment company, to be ambassador to Austria. Eacho raised more than $5,00,000 for Obama’s presidential run; he and his immediate family also donated $2,26,000 to federal politics in 2007-08, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics.

Bruce Oreck, a lawyer who raised more than $5,00,000 for the Obama campaign and with his family gave $2,02,000 to federal races, according to the center, was chosen to be ambassador to Finland. He had been vice president and general counsel for his family business, the Oreck vacuum manufacturer, until it was sold in 2003.

Obama picked finance executive and Democratic donor David Thorne to be ambassador to Italy. Thorne contributed $3,300 to Obama’s primary and general election campaigns last year, according to the money-tracking group. Thorne is former publisher of The Rome Daily American newspaper.