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Politics and Government

Denver LGBT-rights activist tapped by Biden to serve as ambassador to Switzerland

Scott Miller, the husband of Tim Gill, is a former account vice president at UBS Wealth Management in Denver

President Joe Biden delivers remarks to Air Force personnel and their families on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

WILMINGTON, Del.— President Joe Biden is nominating two major Democratic donors, including one from Denver, to serve as ambassadors to Argentina and Switzerland.

The White House announced Friday that Biden has picked LGBT-rights activist and philanthropist Scott Miller, who lives in Denver, to serve as his administration’s envoy to Bern, and trial lawyer Marc Stanley to serve in Buenos Aires. The U.S. ambassador to Switzerland also serves as the chief envoy to Liechtenstein.

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Miller, a former account vice president at UBS Wealth Management in Denver, and his husband, Tim Gill, are prominent philanthropists and generous backers of Democratic candidates and causes. In 2016, Miller served on the board of the pro-Hillary Clinton group Correct the Record before joining the group Draft Biden.

Gill is the founder and namesake of the Gill Foundation, one of the nation’s largest funders of LGBT rights efforts. He was also one of the architects of the Democratic takeover of Colorado politics over the past two decades.

Gill, who made his money in the technology world, has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Colorado political committees. Biden’s presidential campaign received $5,600 from Gill last year, the maximum amount. Miller also donated to the campaign.

Gill also gave $355,00 to the Biden Victory Fund last year, as well as $100,00 to Biden’s former PAC, American Possibilities, in 2017.

In 2016, Gill gave the the Hillary Victory Fund, a PAC fundraising Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee, north of $400,000.

Miller, who received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, has also donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates and causes.

Gill and Miller are close allies of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.

Stanley, a prominent Dallas attorney, was chairman for the Lawyers for Biden arm of the 2020 campaign, recruiting lawyers across the country to donate legal services to the president’s run for the White House.

Presidents often dispense prime ambassadorships as rewards to political allies and top donors. Those appointments often come with an expectation that the appointees can foot the bill for entertaining on behalf of the United States in pricey, high-profile capitals.

About 44% of Donald Trump’s ambassadorial appointments were political appointees, compared with 31% for Barack Obama and 32% for George W. Bush, according to the American Foreign Service Association. Biden hopes to keep political appointments to about 30% of ambassador picks, according to an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk about internal discussions.

To be certain, most political appointees from the donor class, a small population that’s made up of predominantly white men, have historically had little impact on foreign policy.

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Other major donors to receive ambassadorial nominations from Biden include Denise Bauer (France and Monaco), David Cohen (Canada) and Cynthia Telles (Costa Rica).

The White House also announced Biden is nominating career senior foreign service officer David Gilmour to serve as ambassador to Equatorial Guinea. Gilmour has held a series of high-ranking State Department positions and is a former ambassador to Togo.

Colorado Sun staff writer Jesse Paul contributed to this report. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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