Warren Helped Confirm Clueless Obama Bundlers as Ambassadors

Warren pledges not to put donors in diplomatic posts after voting to confirm Obama donors to key posts

Sen. Elizabeth Warren / Getty Images
July 5, 2019

Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren's pledge to end the practice of tapping political donors to be ambassadors comes after years of silence during the Barack Obama presidency, when she voted to confirm numerous donors with no diplomatic experience.

Warren's latest proposal, laid out in a Medium post, points to the Trump administration "selling swanky diplomatic posts to rich buffoons."

"This president may think a fat wallet and a big campaign check qualifies someone to represent our country abroad," Warren declared. "I don't."

Warren says ambassador nominations should be based on qualification alone, but her votes as a U.S. senator show her belief that "rich buffoons" shouldn't be made ambassadors began only when a Republican moved in to the White House.

Warren was a senator, for example, when Obama nominated Noah Bryson Mamet to be U.S. ambassador to Argentina—Mamet was a political operative with no diplomatic experience who raised millions of dollars for Obama's presidential campaigns. It was revealed during Mamet's confirmation hearing that he had never been to Argentina.

Warren voted to confirm Mamet, who passed through the Senate with 50 votes and none from Republicans.

Warren was also a senator when Obama nominated Colleen Bell, a Hollywood soap opera producer with no diplomatic experience who raised over $2 million for Obama's presidential campaigns, to be ambassador to Hungary. During her confirmation hearing, Bell failed to name a single strategic interest the United States has in Hungary.

Warren also voted to confirm Bell, who passed through the Senate with 52 votes and none from Republicans.

Warren also voted to confirm Crystal Nix-Hines, who wrote scripts for ABC's Alias and raised over $1 million for Obama, to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Both Mamet and Bell were confirmed in December 2014 as Warren and her Democratic colleagues in the Senate were spending their final weeks in the majority.

An analysis by the Center for Public Integrity found that Obama rewarded 31 of his campaign bundlers with ambassador posts during his second term. Another 39 ambassador nominees "either gave him campaign money or are known political allies."

Included in the ambassadorships given by Obama to political donors were posts in major countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the European Union.

Those who didn't embarrass themselves during confirmation hearings were confirmed with voice votes in the Senate. The Washington Free Beacon was unable to find objections to any of the nominees by Warren, who assumed office as Obama began his second term.

Warren's campaign did not respond to a request for comment on her previous votes.