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When George W. Bush took office, 1,700 of his campaign contributors reportedly lined up for nominations as ambassadors. Bush has since awarded diplomatic posts to 24 Pioneers and Rangers– supporters who have helped his 2000 and 2004 campaigns by bundling contributions of at least $100,000 or $200,000, respectively. (Five of them, like Bush, happen to have been baseball team owners. See “Bush’s Baseball Ambassadors”, July/August 2004)

A 1980 federal law requires that campaign contributions “should not be a factor” in naming ambassadors. It also specifies that nominees should be able to speak the local language. By this standard, the credentials of Bush’s donors-turned-diplomats are particularly sparse. For instance, consider that our man in France — a country we’ve had our share of diplomatic tussles with lately — doesn’t speak French. Now, more of George W. Bush’s world-class ambassadors. — Benjamin Leslie


Mauritius. 2002 – present.

$573,555

Skipped Mauritius’ presidential inauguration, prompting the country’s largest paper to call for his resignation. Also recently fined $8.1 million by Utah Supreme Court for cheating his business partners.


Ireland. 2001 – 2002.

$489,600

Made a soft money contribution of $250,000 to the GOP in the summer of 2000, and was soon on his way to Dublin.

$376,859

The billionaire former CEO of Lynch Capital didn’t speak any French when he was posted to Paris. He reportedly has been taking lessons, though.


Netherlands. 2001 – present.

$295,700

Dutch-deficient Ambassador Sobel says he loves the Netherlands because “everybody speaks English.”


Portugal. 2001 – present.

$185,650

Big supporter of Bush 41. Speaks no Portuguese.


Norway. 2001 – present.

$181,085

Fined $15,000 by the Federal Election Commission for illegal fundraising in 1997 and 1999. Doesn’t speak Norwegian.


Jamaica. 2001 – present.

$164,750

Married to Charles Cobb, who was appointed ambassador to Iceland after donating over $100,000 to George Bush Sr.


Austria. 2001 – present.

$133,700

The former CEO of Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort, does speak German. Prost!


Hungary. 2001 – 2003.

$125,990

Prior to posting, this Dallas socialite had no Eastern European experience.


Slovak Republic. 2001 – present.

$40,250

Was the 2000 Bush campaign’s Michigan finance chair. Doesn’t speak Slovakian.


Uruguay. 2001 – present.

$38,325

Buddies with homeland security chief Tom Ridge. Self-described as “professionally competent” in Spanish.


Malta. 2001 – present.

$37,411

AKA “The Pasta Magnate.” Fortunately, Malta is English-speaking.


Belize. 2001 – present.

$3,750

This North Dakota lawyer’s brother was a major investor in Bush’s business dealings. Speaks Belize’s official language — English.


Saudi Arabia. 2001 – 2003.

$2,650

Represented Bush during SEC inquiries into possible insider trading in 1990. Also a law partner of Bush family consigliere and House of Saud pal James Baker.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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