Throughout the course of President Obama's tenure in the White House, we've seen major campaign donors coincidentally appointed to fill open ambassador seats, regardless of whether a donor has any knowledge or clue about the country they're being tapped to work with.
Take for example George James Tsunis, a big Obama campaign bundler appointed to be the U.S. Ambassador to Norway who knows nothing about Norway.
Or how about Colleen Bell, who embarrassed herself during a confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill after blowing basic questions about Hungary.
As Henri Barkey at the Washington Post relates, Bell - whose resume, aside from handling big wads of cash for Barack Obama's political campaign, includes producing TV soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful" - couldn't answer basic questions about American strategic interests in Hungary, a NATO and EU member going through some troubling political crises at the moment.
Noah Mamet, who helped secure half a million dollars for Obama's re-election, has been tapped to be the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina. Mamet has never been to Argentina.
But the habit of appointing big money friends isn't limited to ambassadorships. New Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is arguably highly underqualified for the position President Obama has put him in.
Texas Senator John Cornyn slammed Johnson as someone who has little experience when it comes to border security and framed the nomination as a payback for fundraising to get Obama elected.
"Rather than selecting someone who knows the unique dynamics of our Southern border, the President has tapped one of his former New York fundraisers. Senator Cornyn slammed the President, saying that Texans “need someone at DHS who knows how to secure our border, not dial for dollars,” a statement on Cornyn's website said. "With this Administration’s failure to secure the border, Texans expect a nominee with serious management and law enforcement experience – not a liberal Money Man being rewarded for helping Barack Obama win the White House.'"
But hey, the guy helped bundle hundreds of thousands of dollars for his re-election campaign and personally donated more than $30,000, so who cares about real qualifications.
Federal campaign finance records show that over the past decade, Johnson has contributed more than $100,000 to Democratic candidates and groups.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Johnson donated more than $33,000 to Obama's campaign, federal records show. Obama's campaign website listed Johnson as a member of the then-candidate's national finance committee and an adviser to Obama's foreign policy team during the 2008 election.
Yesterday during his daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked about Obama's habit. Carney responded by saying raising money for a campaign neither hurts or helps people secure prominent government positions. Last night on the O'Reilly Factor, James Rosen pointed out one of the main reasons these appointments are being questioned is because during the Watergate investigation, Nixon was investigated for doing the same.
.@PressSec: "Being a donor doesn't get you a job in this administration, or preclude you from getting a job"— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 12, 2014