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Obama removes bundler as Holland envoy nominee

Broas’ alcohol case becomes issue

President Obama has withdrawn the nomination of one of his major donors for a cushy diplomatic post after the nominee was arrested on charges of drunken driving, speeding and resisting arrest.

D.C. lawyer Timothy Broas collected more than $500,000 for Mr. Obama’s 2012 campaign, and in late April was nominated by the president as the next U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands.

But Thursday, Mr. Obama sent a message to the U.S. Senate withdrawing that nomination. Mr. Broas was arrested shortly after 1:15 a.m. on June 19 in the tony Washington suburb of Chevy Chase, court records show. The arrest was first reported by the Center for Public Integrity.

Mr. Broas, 58, is one of 117 people who have raised $500,000 or more each for the president’s re-election campaign, totaling at least $59 million — more than half of the money Mr. Obama’s flagship operation has brought in.

The White House did not immediately respond to questions over the weekend.

In addition to those top-tier bundlers, some 141 people have bundled between $200,000 and $500,000, or $30 million to $70 million, while 120 people have bundled $100,000 to $200,000, an analysis by The Washington Times showed.

Despite the withdrawn ambassadorship, Mr. Broas still appears on Mr. Obama’s list of money gatherers. The same can’t be said for another major fundraiser, who was charged criminally and stricken from the list in recent months.

Abake Assongba, who runs a nonprofit that ostensibly raises money for Africa, has been accused of wire fraud, The Washington Post reported in March, and a civil suit alleges she used an email scam to take a businessman’s money and build a luxury home.

Mrs. Assongba did not respond to messages from The Washington Times about her background prior to The Post story. At that time, no source of her wealth and connections was apparent in public materials, and detail-scarce Web pages soliciting donations for orphans in Africa raised questions about the nonprofit’s reputability.

“We felt the best way to really help children would be to help their mothers’ [sic] to start their own business’ (which allows for independence), and or provide a scholarship for the young adult for them to enhance their lives with advanced education,” one page reads.

Her Facebook profile early this year depicted a smiling Ms. Assongba posing in a picture alongside Mr. Obama.

Unlike the vast majority of Mr. Obama’s bundlers, who are lawyers, Hollywood celebrities and finance executives who tap their equally wealthy colleagues and friends for $60,000 donations, Mrs. Assongba has recently run behind on rent for her Brooklyn apartment.

Mr. Broas is a partner at the law firm Winston & Strawn and also serves as a member of the board of trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

But the lawyer may be on the other side of court proceedings on Aug. 6, for which a trial date has been set.

About the Author
Luke Rosiak

Luke Rosiak is a projects reporter on The Washington Times’ investigative team. He formerly covered lobbying and campaign finance for two watchdog groups as well as transportation for The Washington Post. Luke can be reached at lrosiak@washingtontimes.com.

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