Top bundler Azita Raji appointed to White House administrative post

Raised more than $3 million for Obama’s re-election campaign.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: The California-based investment banker and philanthropist, Azita Raji, the highest Indian American ‘bundler’ for President Barack Obama’s 2012 Presidential campaign, having raised more than $3 million for the cause, has earned a just reward: an appointment as Member of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowship.

Raji, who started donating money to political campaigns beginning only during Obama’s 2008 bid, became a major fundraiser in the subsequent elections, and was in the same league as former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, all of whom raised more than $500,000 in the last elections to help Obama hold onto the White House.

Married to Gary Syman, the former managing director of Goldman Sachs, Raji, who lives in Belvedere, was also being considered for an ambassadorial post in a country in Western Europe earlier. In the past, her fundraising abilities has earned her top positions in the Democratic Party, including National Finance Vice-Chair for Obama for America in 2012, and as a member of the National Advisory Board of the Democratic National Committee.

Raji retired as a vice-president of JP Morgan where she focused on fixed-income investments. A trustee of Barnard College, where she graduated in 1983 with degrees in architecture and French, she also has an MBA degree in finance from Columbia Business School, and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Raji far outstripped other Indian Americans who did fundraising for Obama in his 2012 campaign. According to the list of top bundlers for the 2012 campaign, the next desi name to come up after Azita’s effort is Deven Parekh, managing director at Insight Venture Partners, a private equity and venture capital firm, who raised between $200,000 to $500,000, followed by two Californians, Kavita Tahnka, an attorney, and Shefali Razdan Duggal, both of whom raised between $50,000 to $100,000.

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