Federal Politics

Published — June 29, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Obama names another bundler to be ambassador to Luxembourg

Introduction

Six months after a major Obama fundraiser abruptly quit her post as ambassador to Luxembourg in the wake of a blistering critique of her performance, the White House has nominated another big campaign donor to take her place.

Obama had first appointed Cynthia Stroum, a Seattle businesswoman who raised more than $500,000 for his 2008 campaign, to the coveted job in September 2009. She resigned in January after an internal report blasted her management, saying among other things that career staff wanted to get away from her so badly they were requesting transfers to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The White House has nominated Florida real estate developer Robert A. Mandell to take her place. Like Stroum, Mandell is an Obama bundler, one of an elite corps of fundraisers who collect from $50,000 to more than $500,000 from friends and business associates. Mandell raised more than $200,000 for the 2008 Obama campaign, records show.

A recent investigation by iWatch News found that Obama has appointed two dozen of his 2008 bundlers as ambassadors, despite a campaign promise to curtail the influence of big donors and other special interests in Washington. In all, nearly 200 Obama bundlers have landed government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions for dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events, the investigation found.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said of the appointment, “Robert Mandell has a strong combination of private sector and public service experience. Past support of the President does not guarantee you a job but it doesn’t disqualify you from getting one either.”

The ambassadors appointed by Obama tend to cluster among the most generous donors. Fourteen of the 24 bundlers appointed as ambassadors raised more than $500,000 each.

No organization has tracked whether most political appointees turn out to be good fits for these jobs, but the longstanding practice of handing them to major donors has been criticized.

Thomas Switzer, a spokesman for the American Foreign Service Association in Washington, said political appointments of ambassadors can amount to the “selling of ambassadorships to large political campaign contributors.” The practice, he said, “is not in the best national interest, nor that of the U.S. diplomatic service.”

The group believes that all ambassadors must possess the basic qualifications for such complex duty and Switzer cited a 1980 federal law states that political contributions should not be a factor in these decisions.

Mandell is chairman and CEO of Greater Properties, Inc., a commercial real estate firm in Central Florida. In 2010, Obama appointed him to the President’s Export Council, according to his White House biography. His resume lists no experience in diplomatic matters. He could not be reached for comment.

The press release announcing Mandell’s appointment also lists Thomas C. Krajeski, a career foreign service officer, as Obama’s pick for ambassador to Bahrain.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mandell will be stepping into a job widely regarded in diplomatic circles as cushy. But the previous occupant found it less than comfortable.

Stroum was the subject of an unflattering State Department internal report made public in January. The report criticized her “confrontational management style” and poor management and said both had led to “serious inefficiencies.” It also cited comments from employees describing her as “aggressive, bullying, hostile and intimidating.”

Reached by phone at her Seattle office recently, Stroum asked for questions in writing. In response, she sent iWatch News an email that stated: “I supported Barack Obama for President and I absolutely support his re-election for a second term. It was an unexpected honor to be nominated by the President and a great privilege to serve the Obama Administration and my country as Ambassador.”

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT