Obama hands out top ambassador posts to 19 big campaign donors

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 at 8:02 am

President Obama has rewarded at least 19 campaign contributors and political allies with ambassadorships this year, according to an analysis by The Hill.

Nominations to plum postings have gone to no fewer than eight bundlers, six of whom raised more than $1 million for the president’s reelection campaign. The president has also given prized ambassadorships to key fundraising staffers, including the head of his 2012 finance operation.

Presidents of both parties have long rewarded donors with diplomatic prestige, but Obama appears to be outdoing his immediate predecessors.

As of June 28, 32.2 percent of Obama’s ambassadorial appointments had gone to political appointees, according to the American Foreign Service Association, versus 30.02 percent under George W. Bush, 27.82 percent under Bill Clinton and 31.30 percent under George H.W. Bush.

Internal financial documents obtained by The New York Times suggest the price per post is also at an all-time high, although apples-to-apples comparisons aren’t possible because precise figures aren’t available for previous administrations.

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