Pay to play ambassadorships

The pay to play nature of how Ambassadorships are chosen (big donors are among the small pool of people who are tapped to be Ambassadors) has long been a disgrace, practiced by both Republicans and Democrats. But the hypocrisy when Barack Obama engages in the practice is glaring. In this example, he taps Alan Solomont - a big donor from Boston - to be our Ambassador to Spain.

Our most international of Presidents disregards the need to put our best people forward to represent us overseas. After all, shouldn't our Ambassadors be chosen by merit and not the size of the checks they send to political parties and candidates? Does being a business success translate into being a good Ambassador.

Alan Solomont, a generous benefactor of Barack Obama (and before him, John Kerry) is someone who has long been a bit of a sugar daddy to Democrats. He knows how pay to play works - and so does the Chicago team in the White House.Does he even have any diplomatic experience or connections to Spain? None that I see. Do we know if he even speaks Spanish? Yet, Spain is a very important ally: one whose cooperation we may need, for example, should war break out in the Middle East, and we need over flight authority.

Do we just want to put the Ambassadorship into a donor's hands because the same hands were able to write a big check? Wasn't Obama supposed to be about Change? Didn't he decry the influence of money in politics (that is, unless it helped him as his breaking of a promise to accept federal funds during the campaign)?
But Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has put a hold on the nomination. Cheers to Grassley - a whistleblower advocate:

Jim McElhatton writing in the Washington Times:

The nominee, Alan Solomont, served from April until recently as chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, whose former inspector general, Gerald Walpin, was fired by the White House on June 10. Mr. Solomont, a Massachusetts health industry entrepreneur, helped raise at least $500,000 for Mr. Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and was among a group of top fundraisers, elected officials and others invited to a St. Patrick's Day party at the White House.

Mr. Walpin has said that his firing came because of his investigation into Obama supporter and Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Kevin Johnson involving the misuse of hundreds of thousands of federal grant dollars by a nonprofit group, of which Mr. Johnson was executive director.

Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, a leading whistleblower advocate who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has requested records from the White House and the Corporation for National and Community Service about Mr. Walpin's firing.

"There's no justification for withholding information from Congress here," said Mr. Grassley, who has blocked Senate action by placing a "hold" on Mr. Solomont's nomination amid the dispute. "This administration talks a lot about openness and transparency, but the true test is in cases like this."

Hope and Change the Chicago Way.

 


The pay to play nature of how Ambassadorships are chosen (big donors are among the small pool of people who are tapped to be Ambassadors) has long been a disgrace, practiced by both Republicans and Democrats. But the hypocrisy when Barack Obama engages in the practice is glaring. In this example, he taps Alan Solomont - a big donor from Boston - to be our Ambassador to Spain.

Our most international of Presidents disregards the need to put our best people forward to represent us overseas. After all, shouldn't our Ambassadors be chosen by merit and not the size of the checks they send to political parties and candidates? Does being a business success translate into being a good Ambassador.

Alan Solomont, a generous benefactor of Barack Obama (and before him, John Kerry) is someone who has long been a bit of a sugar daddy to Democrats. He knows how pay to play works - and so does the Chicago team in the White House.Does he even have any diplomatic experience or connections to Spain? None that I see. Do we know if he even speaks Spanish? Yet, Spain is a very important ally: one whose cooperation we may need, for example, should war break out in the Middle East, and we need over flight authority.

Do we just want to put the Ambassadorship into a donor's hands because the same hands were able to write a big check? Wasn't Obama supposed to be about Change? Didn't he decry the influence of money in politics (that is, unless it helped him as his breaking of a promise to accept federal funds during the campaign)?

But Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has put a hold on the nomination. Cheers to Grassley - a whistleblower advocate:

Jim McElhatton writing in the Washington Times:

The nominee, Alan Solomont, served from April until recently as chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, whose former inspector general, Gerald Walpin, was fired by the White House on June 10. Mr. Solomont, a Massachusetts health industry entrepreneur, helped raise at least $500,000 for Mr. Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and was among a group of top fundraisers, elected officials and others invited to a St. Patrick's Day party at the White House.

Mr. Walpin has said that his firing came because of his investigation into Obama supporter and Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Kevin Johnson involving the misuse of hundreds of thousands of federal grant dollars by a nonprofit group, of which Mr. Johnson was executive director.

Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, a leading whistleblower advocate who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has requested records from the White House and the Corporation for National and Community Service about Mr. Walpin's firing.

"There's no justification for withholding information from Congress here," said Mr. Grassley, who has blocked Senate action by placing a "hold" on Mr. Solomont's nomination amid the dispute. "This administration talks a lot about openness and transparency, but the true test is in cases like this."

Hope and Change the Chicago Way.