Obama Said Close to Picking Harley as Ambassador in Paris

Jane Hartley, a fundraiser for President Barack Obama and co-founder of the economic and political advisory firm Observatory Group LLC, is the leading candidate to be nominated as U.S. ambassador to France, two people familiar with the matter said.

Hartley, 63, would replace Charles Rivkin, another Obama fundraiser who the president has nominated to become assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, according to the people, who asked for anonymity because the nomination hasn’t been announced.

Rivkin was summoned to the French Foreign Ministry last week as the French government expressed anger over reports that the U.S. National Security Agency collected data on millions of telephone calls inside France. NSA Director General Keith Alexander told a congressional committee this week that those reports are “completely false.”

The nomination for the ambassadorship to France and Monaco is subject to Senate confirmation.

Hartley raised at least $500,000 for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and has made contributions to other Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Senators Charles Schumer of New York, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker, who won a special election in New Jersey earlier this month.

Hartley and her husband, Ralph Schlosstein, chief executive officer and president of Evercore Partners Inc., were co-hosts of a fundraiser for Obama in New York that drew donors from the financial industry in March 2012.

Avenue Capital Group LLC co-founder Marc Lasry had been the leading candidate for the Paris posting. He told clients of the distressed-debt firm in April that he would stay at New York-based Avenue. He said in an April 28 Bloomberg Television interview that leaving the firm for government service “just isn’t feasible.”

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