Donor-Ambassadors Lost as Fundraisers


Nearly 80 percent of President Obama’s major donors in 2008 received political appointments, such as ambassadorships and other administration posts, the New York Times reported Wednesday in an article focusing on the president’s reelection woes.

The paper reported:

Nearly 80 percent of bundlers who raised $500,000 or more for Mr. Obama were appointed to posts in the administration, according to a 2011 report by the Center for Public Integrity, which tracks campaign finance issues. While most envoys got perches in coveted capitals like Prague, Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen or Oslo, a few were sent to commercially or politically delicate posts like Canada and South Africa.

The article goes on to note that all of those high-level donors who were awarded roles in the State Department are barred by federal regulations from campaigning or raising money on Obama’s behalf:

The same restriction applies to the State Department’s ambassadors around the world, nearly two dozen of whom were fervent supporters of Mr. Obama in 2008, raising tens of millions of dollars for his first presidential campaign. He rewarded these backers with coveted diplomatic appointments to London, Paris, Tokyo and other capitals. Now, as federal employees, they are legally barred from reopening their gilt-edged contact lists.

It is one of the few handicaps of incumbency, and in a year when the Obama campaign says Mitt Romney and Republican-affiliated “super PACs” could raise more money than the president, it could be a significant disadvantage, if one difficult to quantify.