With more than half of President Obama’s ambassadorial nominees having helped raise more than $500,000 for the president’s campaign, the White House conceded major donors could end up in diplomatic posts, but said being a donor did not guarantee a nomination.
“I can tell you being a donor does not get you a job in this administration nor does it preclude you from getting one,” press secretary Jay Carney told reporters, after initially laughing off a question about the administration’s selection process. Because the president chooses people from “a variety of walks of life,” not all of them come from careers in foreign service, he explained.
A recent report from the American Foreign Service Association found that more than half of President Obama’s nominations have been political, compared to 28 and 30 percent under the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, respectively. The diplomatic inexperience of some of the president’s picks has become apparent in recent weeks: both the nominees to Argentina and Norway admitted during their confirmation hearings that they had never been to the countries they would serve as the top American diplomat in.