Warren Calls Donor Ambassadors 'Corruption At Its Worst'

Supported several Obama donors for ambassadorships

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) / Getty Images
November 21, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren on Thursday released a campaign ad calling the appointment of campaign donors as ambassadors "corruption at its worst," but the Massachusetts senator previously voted to confirm ambassadors with no diplomatic experience who raised millions for Barack Obama.

Warren's ad focuses on European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland, calling him an unqualified "millionaire donor" at the "center of Donald Trump's crimes and chaos." Warren added that "Republicans and Democrats have been rewarding big donors with cushy ambassadorships like this for years." The ad does not mention that the Massachusetts senator contributed to that system in the Senate.

Warren voted to confirm multiple ambassador appointees who lacked diplomatic credentials, but raised millions of dollars for Obama's two presidential campaigns.

Former ambassador to Argentina Noah Mamet received Warren's support despite having never been to the South American country. As an Obama bundler, Mamet raised more than $1.7 million for Obama's presidential campaigns.

Another Obama appointee, Hollywood soap opera producer Colleen Bell, raised more than $2 million for the former president's campaign efforts. Bell failed to name a single strategic interest the U.S. has in Hungary during her confirmation hearing. Warren supported her nomination.

Warren also voted to confirm Crystal Nix-Hines, a scriptwriter for ABC's Alias, as ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Nix-Hines raised more than $1 million for Obama's presidential campaigns.

No Republicans voted to confirm Mamet and Bell, and just one voted to confirm Nix-Hines.

Warren has criticized Sondland amidst his involvement in the Trump impeachment inquiry, stating the ambassador is "not a man who had any qualifications" beyond his financial contributions. Sondland received bipartisan support following his nomination.

Democratic senator Ron Wyden (Ore.) publicly backed Sondland's confirmation, calling him a "really good fit." Former Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski, also a Democrat, echoed Wyden's praise of Sondland, telling the Washington Free Beacon in 2018 that the EU ambassador would be "good for this country" and "has a good ability to work with people and to bring both sides together."

The Warren campaign did not return a request for comment.