White House counsel taking Australia envoy post

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — President Obama appointed the co-chair of his presidential campaign in California as U.S. ambassador to Australia.

Jeff Bleich, 48, was selected Friday to replace Robert MacCallum, who left the Canberra post in January.

Bleich met Obama in 1991 and was co-chair of his campaign in California. He has been senior counsel to the White House since March.

Bleich, who is Jewish, scheduled to receive the Anti-Defamation League Jurisprudence Award in San Francisco later this month. In 2007, he received the Learned Hand Award from the American Jewish Committee for his outstanding leadership in the legal profession.

A litigation partner in the San Francisco office of legal firm Munger Tolles & Olson, Bleich is a former president of the California State Bar and the San Francisco Bar Association.

The Harvard graduate briefly served President Clinton as director of the White House Commission on Youth Violence in 1999.

The U.S. Senate must confirm the appointment.

NEXT STORY