New Campaign Legal Center report: The Donor-To-Ambassador Pipeline


Campaign Legal Center has released a new report, The Donor-to-Ambassador Pipeline: Why America's Key Diplomats Are Often Wealthy Political Donors. This report takes a closer look at the history of, and risks associated with, a major share of America’s top diplomats being wealthy political donors.  

The release of this report also happens to coincide with the debut of The Diplomat - a new series on Netflix. Unlike our current reality, in which ambassadorships to desirable countries are doled out to wealthy donors, the show centers on a qualified career diplomat serving as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Even in the high-stakes, fanciful world of the show, this is repeatedly pointed out as an anomaly.  

Our report features:  

  • A breakdown of over $22.5 million worth of donations to the Democratic Party from President Biden’s noncareer political ambassador nominees.  

  • A historic timeline on the regularity of the donor-to-ambassador pipeline from the Reagan to Trump administrations.  

  • Profiles of corruption and incompetence by past noncareer political ambassadors.   

  • Reforms that Congress and the Executive Branch can adopt to ensure the most qualified officials ascend to ambassadorship roles.