Biden ambassador nominees made substantial political donations, escalating decades-long bipartisan trend

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President Biden has nominated political donors and Democratic Party notables to ambassadorships at a higher rate than previous administrations, according to a government watchdog. 

According to the American Accountability Foundation’s (AAF) data reviewed by Fox News Digital, six pending Biden ambassador nominees have given a total of almost $13 million in Democratic political contributions over the course of their careers. This compounds the already high ratio of political donors among Biden’s nominations – and raises questions about a promise Biden made during his campaign.

“Biden broke another campaign promise as he stacks his ambassador nominees with some of the deepest campaign pockets of the left-wing agenda,” said American Accountability Foundation founder Tom Jones. “No one should be able to buy their way into a luxurious position as an ambassador.”


President Joe Biden pauses as he speaks at the White House on Sept. 9, 2021.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Biden did promise to nominate based on qualifications and suitability for the job in his campaign, but the then-hopeful for the Oval Office refused to rule out donors as nominees well before the election.

“I’m going to appoint the best people possible,” Biden told reporters at a stop on his “No Malarky” tour in the run-up to the 2020 election. “Nobody, in fact, will be appointed by me based on anything they contributed.”

Biden later defended possible future political appointments as “fully qualified people” who “may or may not have contributed” to politics.

“You have some of the people out there that are fully qualified to head up everything from being the ambassador to NATO to be ambassador to France who may or may not have contributed,” Biden clarified.

A majority of President Biden’s nominees to ambassadorships thus far have been political appointees – frequently big Democratic donors and key party players. A higher percentage of political nominees have been nominated under Biden than his predecessors. 

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson follows the action during the Tennessee Titans game at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 3, 2021, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson follows the action during the Tennessee Titans game at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 3, 2021, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Al Pereira/Getty Images)

Politically-minded ambassador appointments are a practice simultaneously condemned and practiced by both sides of the aisle. 

President Trump nominated Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets who raised money for Trump’s presidential campaign and donated funds to help pay for inaugural festivities, to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.


While rewarding donors might seem as old as presidential elections, the practice has become more of a problem with each administration.

According to data from the American Foreign Service Association in 2021, 26 ambassador nominees were already drawn from the ranks of career foreign service agents compared to 29 from “other,” or political, appointees. Biden’s current course puts him at 53% political appointees, though many spots remain without a nominee. 

In 2021, the association noted 43.5% of outgoing President Trump’s ambassadors were political appointees. That was considered relatively high compared to 30% of politically appointed ambassadors under former President Barack Obama, 31% under George W. Bush and 28% by Bill Clinton.