Robert H. Tuttle

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Robert H. Tuttle
Robert Holmes Tuttle.jpg
United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
In office
July 2005 – February 2009
President George W. Bush
Preceded by William S. Farish III
Succeeded by Louis Susman
Personal details
Born (1943-08-04) August 4, 1943 (age 70)
California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Maria Denise Hummer

Robert Holmes Tuttle (born August 4, 1943) is a businessman specializing in car dealerships. He also held the post of United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom from July 2005 to February 2009.[1][2]

A California native, he was nominated to be Ambassador by U.S. President George W. Bush. He had raised more than $200,000 for the Bush's 2004 re-election campaign and inauguration ceremony.[3] Both Tuttle and his predecessor William Farish were both wealthy private citizens with personal and financial ties to the Bush family.[4]

Tuttle is the son of Holmes Tuttle, founder of the Southern California chain of auto dealerships and, in the 1960s and 70s, a prominent force behind the political rise of actor Ronald Reagan.

Tuttle previously worked in the White House during the Reagan administration as an Assistant to the President in 1982, and Director of Presidential Personnel in 1985. Tuttle was also on the Board of Directors of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

He is a graduate of Stanford University, and earned his MBA degree at the University of Southern California. Tuttle is a partner in an automobile dealership based in Beverly Hills, California. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Council on International Policy.[5]

He is married to the former Maria Denise Hummer. Both Tuttle and his wife are avid collectors of contemporary art.[6] He has two daughters from a previous marriage.

Controversy over Congestion Fee[edit]

Tuttle is perhaps most widely known for his (and the U.S. Embassy's) refusal to pay the London congestion charge.[7] The embassy has claimed that the charge is a form of taxation, and the diplomats and their staff are therefore exempt under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Transport for London, which is headed by the Mayor of London, considers the charge to be a fee for service rather than a tax, and points out that other embassies in London pay it, and US embassies in other cities pay similar road charges. The embassy says that the decision to stop paying was made before Tuttle became Ambassador, although the embassy only ceased payment after he took up the post.

In March 2006, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said that Tuttle was trying to "skive out of [paying] like some chiselling little crook".[8] A survey published in 2007 showed that the United States owed £1.5 million in outstanding congestion charge payments. Livingstone again chided Tuttle, and called him a "venal little crook" for his refusal to pay.[9]

However, Tom Conti, founder of campaign group London Motorists Action Group (LMAG), said: "I think the American ambassador's stance on this is very reasoned, I think he makes his case very well. Obviously, when you have got a parking ticket then you've done something wrong - so you should pay up. But in terms of the congestion charge I can see how some of these diplomats feel."[10][page needed]

Former First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan meets U.S. Ambassador Robert Tuttle on 7 October 2005 in Cardiff.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William Stamps Farish III
U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom
2005–2009
Succeeded by
Louis Susman

References[edit]