WASHINGTON — Utah native Tom Korologos, who has been involved in the rebuilding of postwar Iraq, has been nominated by President Bush to become the new U.S. ambassador to Belgium.

Korologos, 71, is one of the most influential lobbyists in Washington, who for decades shepherded hundreds of GOP nominees through the confirmation process — including some of the most controversial Supreme Court nominees. He now faces the unusual task of shepherding himself to confirmation.

Korologos could join a relative small number of Utahns who have served as ambassadors.

Businessman John Price is currently serving as ambassador to the African island nations of Mauritania, Seychelles and the Comoros Republic. GOP gubernatorial candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. was ambassador to Singapore, and held ambassador rank as deputy U.S. trade representative. Former Rep. David King, D-Utah, who now lives in Maryland, was ambassador to Mauritania and Madagascar. Korologos was nominated on Thursday.

He has been serving as the senior counsel to Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, who has overseen the rebuilding of Iraq.

Besides advising on efforts in Iraq, where he moved as soon as the main combat ended, Korologos also served as the primary liaison to Congress about developments there.

He was the point man for administration lobbying that passed through Congress an $87 billion supplemental appropriations bill to fund efforts in Iraq.

Korologos took the job in Iraq after he recently retired as head of the lobbying firm of Timmons and Co.

He has been a close adviser to all GOP presidents since Richard Nixon. He also ran operations for many of the Republican National Conventions since 1972, and was responsible for such innovations as insisting on shorter speeches and including more non-politicians on stage.

He graduated from the University of Utah and has a master's degree from Columbia University. He was also once an aide to former Sen. Wallace F. Bennett, R-Utah, the father of current Sen. Bob Bennett.

During his career, he has also served as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and as a member and chairman of the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.

Korologos is married to former Reagan administration Secretary of Labor Ann McLaughlin.

E-mail: lee@desnews.com