US ambassadors tend to be big spenders on US President Barack Obama, the Democratic Party and its candidates for Congress, a Bloomberg investigation revealed on Thursday.
Twenty-six diplomatic nominees, current ambassadors as well as those nominated by Obama, have together contributed at least $13.6 million in political funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Of the two dozen people Obama nominated just last month, one-third of them had fundraised for his reelection, according to USA Today. Among them was Rufus Gifford, tipped for ambassador to Denmark, who served as the head of finance for the president's last presidential run, reported CNN.
Obama is not hugely out of line with other US presidents on this, according to Bloomberg, but criticism has been fierce given the US leader's repeated demands for an end to political corruption in Washington.
Dan Kurtzer, who served as an ambassador to Egypt and Israel in the Clinton and Bush years, told Bloomberg the practice suggests "we so devalue diplomacy that we assume anyone can walk off the street and do it.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest denied that Obama is purposefully pushing for the appointment of top funders, saying no candidates were "chosen because they supported the president’s campaign." However, "none of them should have been ruled out just because they did,” he added, according to Bloomberg.
Under Obama, about 35 percent of diplomatic positions have gone to his political allies, leaving 65 percent to more established foreign service workers, said Bloomberg, citing the American Foreign Service Association.