Image by Xaf via FlickrOn August 6, President Obama announced his intent to nominate William E. Kennard to be Representative of the United States of America to the European Union (USEU), with the rank of Ambassador. Official bio released by the WH below:
"William E. Kennard is Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm. Before joining the firm in 2001, Mr. Kennard was Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission where he advanced policies that brought the Internet to a majority of American households, greatly expanded investment in new wireless and broadband networks, and made digital technologies more available to schools, libraries, low-income communities and people with disabilities.
Before becoming FCC Chairman, he served as the FCC’s General Counsel and as a partner and member of the board of directors of the law firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand (now DLA Piper). Mr. Kennard has received many honors and awards, including honorary degrees from Howard University, Gallaudet University and Long Island University. Mr. Kennard currently serves on the boards of directors of The New York Times Company, Hawaiian Telcom, Inc., and Insight Communications; in addition, he is a board member of several nonprofit organizations, including the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, One Economy Corporation, Common Sense Media, Year-Up Inc. and the Yale University Council.
Mr. Kennard is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School." * * *
OpenSecrets.org has listed Bill Kennard as one of Obama’s bundlers raising a minimum of $500K for the election (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."). He was also a tech advisor to Obama’s campaign, working alongside such fellow techies as Julius Genachowski and Google’s Eric Schmidt.
If confirmed, he would replace Kristin Silverberg, a Texan with impeccable conservative credentials who worked as aide to L. Paul Bremer in Iraq in 2003. The two other ambassadors to the EU preceding Ms. Silverberg were Rockwell A. Schnabel (2001-2005) and C. Boyden Gray (2006-2008 on a recess appointment ), both political appointees. Before you get all upset, this was not just a Bush thingy. The last six ambassadors to USEU were all political appointees. We have to go back all the way to 1991 to find a career diplomat appointed to this post (FSO James Dobbins, 1991-1993).