Rufus Gifford Hub

Obama Names Two Gay Men to Ambassadorships

President Obama has named Rufus Gifford, a prominent fundraiser who was most recently Finance Chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, as Ambassador to Denmark. He has also named James Costos, Vice President of Global Licensing and Retail for Home Box Office (HBO), as Ambassador to Spain.

Background from the White House:

GiffordRufus 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.

CostosJames Costos is Vice President of Global Licensing and Retail for Home Box Office (HBO).  Before joining HBO in 2006, he was President and CEO of Eight Cylinders, Inc., an entertainment marketing and licensing agency.  Previously, from 2002 to 2004, he was head of Promotions and Consumer Products at Revolution Studios in California.  He began his career in New York as a fashion and retail executive.  From 2001 to 2002, he was Vice President of Retail for Hermes in New York, and from 1991 to 2001, he was Vice President of Retail Operations for Tod’s in New York.  Mr. Costos currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Humane Society of the United States.  He received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts. 

The nominations need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Gay Obama Fundraiser Rufus Gifford to be Denmark Ambassador?

The WaPo's Al Kamen reports that Rufus Gifford, former Democratic National Committee finance chair and Obama’s 2012 campaign fundraising chief, is at the top of the list to be ambassador to Denmark:

GiffordThe 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.”

Obama fundraiser LAurie Susan Fulton left the position earlier this month.

Obama Fundraiser Bernard Named White House Liaison to the NEH


L.A.-based Obama fundraiser Jeremy Bernard has been named White House liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Democratic source told the Washington Blade:
"Bernard’s new role means he’ll serve as the primary point person between the White House and NEH, a government agency that provides grants to research and programs in the humanities. Bernard worked with his partner, Rufus Gifford, to raise millions of dollars through their company, B&G Associates, for Obama’s campaign in California...Bernard, a Los Angeles resident, also helped in fundraising efforts for freshman U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). A superdelegate at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August, Bernard was pledged to Obama. Bernard worked for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and in 1999, then-President Clinton appointed Bernard to serve on a presidential advisory committee at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts."

Above, a photo I shot of Gifford (left) and Bernard at the kick-off to Obama's inauguration at the Lincoln Memorial.

Gay Men Accept, Retain Top Positions at the Democratic Party


The Southern Voice reports that fundraiser Rufus Gifford, who with his partner Jeremy Bernard, raised millions for the Obama campaign, is expected to accept a role as the new finance director for the DNC. I shot the above photo of Gifford (left) and Bernard at the opening ceremonies of the Inauguration at the Lincoln Memorial.

The Voice's piece also notes that DNC Treasurer Andrew Tobias has been asked to stay on in his role by incoming Chairman Tim Kaine. Another high-profile gay figure in the DNC is New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. You may have seen our interview with him last week. Buckley was elected the new President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs.

You may have missed...
Towleroad Interviews Ray Buckley, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair [tr]
A Partisan Message from DNC Treasurer Andrew Tobias [tr]
L.A. Weekly on Obama's Gay Fundraisers [tr]


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