CLC Op-Ed Examines the Donor-to-Ambassador Pipeline

A sign saying "Department of State" in front of a plain concrete building with windows
The Department of State in Washington, D.C. Photo by Michael Ventura / Alamy Stock Photo

In an op-ed for The Hill, Campaign Legal Center senior researcher Roger Wieand examines the modern phenomenon of wealthy political donors snagging highly-coveted ambassadorial posts. The piece points out that every president of the modern era - from Reagan to Biden - has awarded about 30 to 40 percent of ambassadorships to political appointees rather than career diplomats, and examines the consequences of those appointments.

The piece follows on the heels of a comprehensive report on the same subject, The Donor-To-Ambassador Pipeline: Why America's Key Diplomats Are Often Wealthy Political Donors, which was co-authored by Wieand and Senior Legal Counsel for Ethics Delaney Marsco. This report analyzes the “donor-to-ambassador pipeline” and calls for an end to the practice: By improving disclosure and transparency in the appointments process, and by shoring up accountability for ambassadors in office, the U.S. has an opportunity to restore international confidence in the seriousness of our diplomacy.

To learn about this issue, check out the op-ed here and the full report here.