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Posted by on Nov 19, 2009 in Politics | 7 comments

Meet the New Boss… prizes for Obama donors

No matter what you may have hoped, some things never change. The intro to this Politico piece really tells the whole story.

He may have promised to change Washington, but President Barack Obama is continuing one of its most renowned patronage traditions: bestowing prized ambassadorships on big donors.

Of the nearly 80 ambassadorship nominations or confirmations since Obama’s Inauguration, 56 percent were given to political appointees and 44 percent have gone to career diplomats, according to records kept by the American Foreign Service Association.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that this is just a Democratic problem any more than it’s just a Republican problem. This is a deeply rooted problem connected to politics as usual and the way that money finds its way into the system, rarely producing noble results.

Beatrice Wilkinson Welters and her husband channeled somewhere between $200,000 and 1/2 $M dollars into Obama’s presidential campaign and another 100 grand for his inaugural festivities. And now it seems that Beatrice will be heading off to be our ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. Nice work if you can get it, eh?

But Beatrice is far from the only one.

Charles H. Rivkin, a Los Angeles-based children’s television executive and an $800,000 bundler, is in Paris; Alan Solomont, a Boston-based investor and $500,000 bundler, is in Madrid; Louis B. Susman, a Chicago investor and $500,000 bundler, is in London; and Don Beyer, a Virginia Volvo dealer and $745,000 bundler, is in Bern, Switzerland.

Nicole Avant, a member of a Motown family dynasty who is credited with bundling up to $800,000 for Obama, was granted the coveted and cushy ambassadorship in Nassau, Bahamas.

Meet the new boss… same as all the bosses who came before him. True, Obama never actually promised to end this practice entirely, but this certainly doesn’t have the smell of changing Washington business as usual.