Benghazi auditor Pickering slams Obama for appointing donors to embassy posts

The co-author of the State Department's independent Benghazi audit slammed President Obama on Wednesday for doling out ambassadorships to his top donors. 

Retired diplomat Thomas Pickering told The Guardian newspaper that the practice amounted to selling public office to the highest bidder after Obama named the national finance chairman of his re-election campaign, Matthew Barzun, to the London posting. An analysis by the British newspaper found that the average amount raised for Obama's campaign by recent appointees to 10 desirable postings had soared to $1.8 million per post, much more than in past election cycles.

“All these people want to go to places where the lifestyle issues [are pleasant],” Pickering told the newspaper. “It has the effect of diminishing perhaps the sense that the US is treating these countries with the respect they deserve.”

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The practice has also come under fire from the  American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), which represents career US diplomats.

“The giving of ambassadorships to people who have raised a lot of money for the campaign has increased and that's a concern to us in particular,” President Susan Johnson told The Guardian. “There was some thought that with Obama being such a 'change agent' that he might really do things differently – but it has just been a bigger let down.”

Obama has said his recent appointees are highly successful business people who are well qualified for the posts they've been nominated to.

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