The Senate is set to confirm President Obama’s 111th and 112th political appointees to vaunted Ambassador posts throughout the world.
As political appointees, the select individuals are expected to complete the same job duties as career foreign service members. This miraculous transformation and absorption of job knowledge to qualify as the chief diplomats to nations which are completely foreign to them must happen within a span of a few months, sometimes only days.
Timothy Broas and Robert Sherman are set to become United States Ambassadors to the Netherlands and Portugal, respectively.
USA Today reported that Broas raised an estimated $700,000 for Obama’s campaigns. While President Obama had made it a main priority to install Broas into the ambassadorship, Broas hit a major bump in the road, publicly humiliating himself after being arrested for drunken driving. That arrest lead him to withdraw his name in 2012. A year later, Obama reappointed the campaign bundler to the same post.
Robert Sherman bundled together over $2 Million dollars for the President’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Mega-bundler Sherman is a Boston-area lawyer with seemingly zero expertise or experience dealing with the practice of diplomacy.
Broas and Sherman are hardly the only individuals being granted Ambassador posts seemingly in return for filling the President’s campaign coffers. An estimated 19 to 24 of the president’s ambassador appointees were previously mega-bundlers for his presidential campaigns.
According to the American Foreign Service Association, of President Obama’s total ambassadorial appointments since 2009, 112 appointees, or 35.7 percent, have been given the status of “political appointees”, meaning they have little to no experience in the field. In his second term thus far, President Obama’s political appointee percentage has increased to a whopping 50 percent, a level that almost doubles his predecessor’s standards.
The United States’ Foreign Service employs roughly 15,000 public servants, many of whom work their whole careers and dedicate their livelihood towards reaching one of the top posts of the Foreign Service career ladder: as an American Ambassador to a foreign nation. These public servants who have dedicated thousands of hours towards refining their craft and serving their country are left answering to people who happened to have deep pockets during election season.