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US political appointees draw fire over plum postings

Published on Feb 16, 2014 3:58 PM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US foreign policy circles are complaining about the record number of political appointees, especially big donors to President Barack Obama, getting plum postings at embassies around the world.

While the practice of thanking big presidential campaign donors with chief of mission postings is common in the United States, it is rarely used by other world powers.

And Mr Obama's Democratic administration has stood out in this regard, after a series of gaffes by ambassador picks during Senate hearings were met with sarcasm by Republican critics and the press who said they were unqualified.

According to the American Foreign Service Association, which counts 16,400 current and retired diplomats among its members, the number of political appointees serving ambassadorships has broken all records at 37 percent.

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