Mar 09, 2012 6:24 AM GMT
It's a time honored tradition but what came wasn't "change" and "transparency" - in fact, arguably worse as the president of the American Foreign Service Association suggests.
Obama campaigned on what he called “the most sweeping ethics reform in history” and has frequently criticized the role of money in politics. That hasn’t stopped him from offering government jobs to some of his biggest bundlers, volunteer fundraisers who gather political contributions from other rich donors.
More than half of Obama’s 47 biggest fundraisers, those who collected at least $500,000 for his campaign, have been given administration jobs. Nine more have been appointed to presidential boards and committees.
At least 24 Obama bundlers were given posts as foreign ambassadors, including in Finland, Australia, Portugal and Luxembourg. Among them is Don Beyer, a former Virginia lieutenant governor who serves as ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. [...]
The Foreign Service Act of 1980, however, states that “contributions to political campaigns should not be a factor in the appointment of an individual as a chief of mission.”
Obama has appointed 59 ambassadors who were not career Foreign Service officers, and of those, 40 percent were bundlers.
“We think that the pendulum has swung a bit too far toward the patronage side of things,” said Susan Johnson, president of the American Foreign Service Association, which represents career officers.