Fundraisers win jobs as Obama envoys
President Obama’s campaign to bring change to the nation’s capital hasn’t kept him from continuing the Washington tradition of handing out ambassadorships to political friends and fundraisers.
An old college roommate, the head of an entertainment production company and a lawyer whose family made its money selling vacuum cleaners are among more than a dozen people who have won ambassadorships after raising a total of at least $4 million for Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign, according to public records.
The practice has been common for both political parties.
Since the Kennedy administration, presidents have given political appointees about 30 percent of the roughly 170 ambassadorships globally. While analysts say it’s too early to say how Mr. Obama’s administration will compare, government watchdog groups contend that the practice seems at odds with the president’s populist rhetoric against “special interests.”
Altogether, Mr. Obama’s ambassador nominees and their families raised at least $4 million for Mr. Obama’s presidential run and another $1.6 million for his inauguration, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. One notable exception was Mr. Obama’s pick for ambassador to China – former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a Republican who raised funds for Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential run against Mr. Obama.