Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ambassador Nominees Get Richer, if Not More Professional

The Obama administration hasn't actually appointed any ambassadors yet other than for UN Ambassador Susan Rice, so it's still possible that Obama will appoint no one but stone cold professional diplomats to fill all those vacancies created when the Bush administration's ambassadors were dismissed, just like his admirers in the foreign affairs community (such as here and here) expect he will. But the rumors so far can't be making them happy.

Last month it was a Pittsburgh sports owner going to Ireland, now it's Chicago money bundler Louis Susman, the recently retired vice chairman of Citigroup Global Markets, former campaign finance director for Kerry in 2006, and major fundraiser for Obama in 2008, to the United Kingdom's Court of St. James.

From the Telegraph today:

Barack Obama has been embroiled in a cronyism row after reports that he intends to make Louis Susman, one of his biggest fundraisers, the new US ambassador in London.

Mr Susman's reputation for hoovering large amounts of cash from deep pockets saw him nicknamed "the vacuum cleaner" when he raised more than $240 million for John Kerry's White House bid in 2004.

He was one of Mr Obama's biggest campaign cash "bundlers", fundraisers who collect contributions from hundreds of others. He also gave $300,000 to the president's inauguration fund.

At least Obama is picking a much wealthier political-appointee ambassador than the last one Bush settled for.

Robert Tuttle, the US ambassador in London since 2005, was a California car dealer who raised $100,000 for George W Bush's 2004 election campaign and another $100,000 for his inauguration.

A car dealer who kicked in only $200,000? He sounds like a piker compared to Louis Susman.

1 comment:

Consul-At-Arms said...

"stone cold professional diplomats" has a certain ring to it, don't you think?

It's make a great name for an in-house State Dept. rock band. Or a very violent video game.

I've quoted you and linked to you here: