WASHINGTON, DC – The Obama administration has nominated Cheryl Saban, wife of Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban to be the U.S. representative to the upcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Saban — a mega-donor who was at one time the top giver to the Democratic Party — has been intensely courted by the Obama campaign to try to level the playing field between the Democrats and big-money outside groups.
He was a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton in 2008, and largely sat out the general election that year after President Obama clinched the nomination. But this cycle, he wrote a check to the Obama campaign for the first time. And over the summer, he finally donated $1 million to super PACs backing Democrats.
He recently penned an op-ed in the New York Times, defending Obama’s polices in Israel and announcing his full support for the president. He also visited the White House at least twice, meeting with President Obama and then-chief of staff Bill Daley. After a December 2011 meeting, he told the Hollywood Reporter that his conversation with Obama helped change his mind and that it was “time to get active again” in politics.
In Democratic circles, he’s largely been seen as a possible counterweight to big-money Republican donors like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers.
Administration officials point to Cheryl Saban’s qualifications for the position, including nonprofit work with 50 Ways to Save Our Children, CARE USA, Children’s Network International, Mercy Corps, and Plan USA — as well as a long record of philanthropy and public advocacy.
The White House announced Saban’s appointment to the largely ceremonial position in a Wednesday release.