Top Obama fundraisers get plum posts

Oct. 29, 2009 at 3:50 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- More than 40 percent of President Barack Obama's top fundraisers have posts within his administration, a USA Today analysis revealed.

Of the 47 fundraisers Obama's campaign said collected more than $500,000, 20 were named to government positions within the executive branch and diplomatic posts in countries such as Spain, France and the Bahamas, the analysis published Thursday indicated.

About 600 individuals and couples raised money to help fund Obama's presidential bid. So far, 54 have been named to government posts, the newspaper's study found.

An independent analysis by the American Foreign Service Association, the diplomats union, found more than half of the ambassadors Obama named so far were political appointees, association President Susan Johnson said. An appointment is considered political if it does not go to a career diplomat in the State Department.

"It is time to end the spoils system and the de facto sale of ambassadorships," Johnson said. "The United States is best served by having experienced, knowledgeable and trained career officers fill all positions in our diplomatic service."

The administration is "well aware of the historical target of career versus non-career ambassadors, and we will be right on that target," White House spokesman Thomas Vietor told USA Today. He said the first round of diplomatic jobs typically go to political appointees because those are the first available when a president takes office.

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