Monday, June 22, 2009

How much does an ambassadorship cost?

Jake Tapper, of ABC News, reports that "President Obama nominated [f]ormer Virginia lieutenant governor and businessman Donald Beyer for ambassador to both Switzerland and Liechtenstein; he and his wife Megan bundled at least $500,000 for then-Sen. Obama's presidential campaign, with Megan bundling at least $245,000 for the inauguration." However, others appear to have, on average, paid less:
[T]he Center for Responsive Politics ... in a recent study concluded that the president's new nominees for ambassadorships to Belize, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Romania and Switzerland "brought in at least $1.1 million for Obama's presidential bid as bundlers, and at least another half-a-million as bundlers for his inauguration. To date, this brings the contribution histories of Obama's ambassador nominees to roughly $1.8 million in donations since 1989. The 19 ambassadors that CRP has found in our campaign contribution database, along with their spouses and children, have given more than $98,200 to Obama personally, bundled at least $3.4 million for his 2008 presidential run and bundled another $1.4 million for his inauguration."
Thus each of the 19, on average, bundled $180,000 to Obama's campaign and another $74,000 to his inauguration. The Breyers, who bundled $500,000 for the campaign and $245,000 for the inauguration, clearly overpaid.

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