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Obama renominates campaign donor for diplomat post in The Hague

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Thursday renominated Timothy Broas, a criminal defense lawyer and campaign donor, as ambassador to the Netherlands, a year after Broas withdrew from consideration following his arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

After his first nomination, Broas was charged for driving while under the influence of alcohol, speeding and resisting arrest in his suburban Maryland neighborhood.

"While the case was pending, he thought it was inappropriate for his name to be considered," his lawyer, Paul Kemp, told Reuters.

Prosecutors later dropped the more serious charges and Broas pleaded guilty to a lesser traffic offense of driving while impaired, and was given probation before judgment - meaning he was not formally convicted of the offense.

"It was that minimal a charge," Kemp said.

The White House declined comment.

His nomination will require Senate confirmation.

Broas, a partner at Winston & Strawn in Washington, bundled more than $500,000 in donations for Obama's 2012 election campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

At his Senate confirmation hearing last year, just days before his arrest, Broas explained how he had spent 30 years defending clients in complex cases, saying it gave him management experience needed for the posting in The Hague.

Broas is the latest in a string of major donors picked for U.S. diplomatic assignments abroad. Presidents often choose major boosters for ambassadorial posts in friendly countries.

Last week, Obama named his campaign finance chairman, Matthew Barzun, as the U.S. ambassador to Britain, and Washington lawyer John Phillips as the U.S. ambassador to Italy.

In June, Obama nominated donors to postings in Denmark, Germany and Spain.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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