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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ambassadorships and Campaign Contributions

From the Center for Responsive Politics:
President Obama announced another 10 names for ambassadorships last week, and in doing so, he awarded another set of big donors and bundlers with plum positions
representing U.S. interests abroad. The new nominees for ambassadors to Belize, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Romania and Switzerland — along with their spouses and dependent children — have contributed at least $637,800 to federal candidates, parties and committees since 1989, CRP has found. Nearly that entire sum has gone to Democrats, including $32,775 to Obama himself and $8,300 to former primary
opponent and now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. These individuals also brought in at least $1.1 million for Obama's presidential bid as bundlers, and at least another half-a-million as bundlers for his inauguration.

Republican and Democratic presidents alike have given ambassadorships to political supporters. Late last year, however, former diplomat Morris Abramowitz urged the new president to change the practice: "Obama can publicly declare that he will not appoint ambassadors who have in effect secured their posts through financial contributions and who have little background to merit any such appointment." He explained that the practice "further diminishes the appeal of the Foreign Service, and it is particularly discouraging when many of the most important jobs are reserved for political appointees. In fact, not many talented professional career diplomats can become ambassadors under current practices, especially at the larger, more prestigious posts."