Ambassadors are a mixed bag. Some are unquestionably qualified for their posts. Take John F. Tefft, US ambassador to the Russian Federation, for example: prior to his arrival in Moscow, Tefft was not only the chargé d’affaires in Russia, but an ambassador to a slew of its neighbors—Ukraine, Georgia, and Lithuania—and deputy US Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs.
Others, not so much. The appointment of Colleen Bell to the ambassadorship of Hungary has been a point of contention in this regard. Bell produced The Bold and the Beautiful, a soap opera that has won 40 Daytime Emmys, which is great, but hardly requires a particular knowledge of Central European culture, languages, or politics. Bell, however, was a major fundraiser for president Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, and—as part of a long, storied tradition of rewarding top supporters with plum ambassadorial gigs—she has been recompensed accordingly.
Bell is not alone. In fact, based on a report compiled by The New York Times, many of Obama’s top campaign fundraisers have received fancy diplomatic appointments, likely to the consternation of a few State Department lifers, bouncing between placements in Armenia, Fiji, and Nepal.
Here, Quartz has compiled a list of recent appointments graded by how much money each ambassador raised for the 2012 Obama campaign:
- Denise Bauer, US ambassador to Belgium: $2,360,300
- Matthew Barzun, US ambassador to the United Kingdom: $2,312,509
- Colleen Bell, US ambassador to Hungary: $2,101,635
- Rob Barber, US ambassador to Iceland: $1,687,219
- John Emerson, US ambassador to Germany: $1,562,350
- Suzi LeVine, US ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein: $1,515,493
- Robert Sherman, US ambassador to Portugal: $1,386,770
- Noah Mamet, US ambassador to Argentina: $1,374,003
- Jane Hartley, US ambassador to France and Monaco: $1,353,200
- Mark Gilbert, US ambassador to New Zealand: $1,232,988
- James Costos, US ambassador to Spain and Andorra: $1,124,925
- James Brewster, US ambassador to the Dominican Republic: $1,121,027
- Kirk Wagar, US ambassador to Singapore (not mapped): $1,117,000
- Bruce Heyman, US ambassador to Canada: $1,012,800
- Pam Hamamoto, US ambassador to UN headquarters in Geneva (not mapped): $1,011,654
And this is what they look like on a map: