Pay-To-Play Ambassador–Because GOP Needs Another Scandal

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

CBS News reports on fresh scandal ensnaring the Republican National Committee, a problematic timeline of very large donation requests to a California billionaire hoping to become the next ambassador to the Bahamas:

A CBS News investigation has uncovered a possible pay-for-play scheme involving the Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to the Bahamas. Emails obtained by CBS News show the nominee, San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester, was asked by the RNC to donate half a million dollars as his confirmation in the Senate hung in the balance, chief investigative correspondent Jim Axelrod reports…

To briefly summarize CBS’ reporting, San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester was nominated right after President Donald Trump took office to be the next ambassador to the Bahamas. No action taken by the Senate to confirm Manchester for over two years. After Manchester organized a relief flight to the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian, Manchester received a favorable Tweet from Trump, followed three days later by a request from RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel for $500,000 “from your family”–in implicit acknowledgement that Manchester himself as an nominee awaiting confirmation by the Senate could not ethically do so.

Three days after the tweet, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel hit up Manchester for a donation. It was no small sum. In an email, obtained exclusively by CBS News, she asked Manchester, “Would you consider putting together $500,000 worth of contributions from your family to ensure we hit our ambitious fundraising goal?”

This is a prime example of what’s known in the business of politics as “corruption.” And Manchester was ready to play ball:

The Senate confirmation process is exactly what Manchester quickly addressed. He wrote back to McDaniel’s request for $500,000, “As you know I am not supposed to do any, but my wife is sending a contribution for $100,000. Assuming I get voted out of the [Foreign Relations Committee] on Wednesday to the floor we need you to have the majority leader bring it to a majority vote … Once confirmed, I our [sic] family will respond!” [Pols emphasis]

In the wake of this email exchange, in which Manchester reportedly cc:ed a Republican Senator who then tipped off the White House, Manchester withdrew his nomination for “personal reasons.” But it shouldn’t end there: Ronna McDaniel’s request for Manchester to organize a $500,000 contribution from family members tacitly recognizes that the request was inappropriate. In any ordinary political environment, McDaniel would be clearing out her office immediately following publication of this story.

At the very least, we’re guessing Ronna’s uncle Mitt Romney is okay she dropped that maiden name.


12 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Please properly sub-title the picture: Ronna Romney McDaniel.  

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    He shoulda’ just joined Mar-a-Lago?!

  3. Early WormEarly Worm says:

    Sounds like the problem here is that Manchester wanted his quo before he was willing to provide his quid. For example, Gordon Sondland, our eminently unqualified ambassador to the EU, knew enough to contribute a $1,000,000 to Trump's inauguration before he was appointed. Everyone in Washington knows, first you pay, then you play. 

  4. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    I'm sure Ronna Romney McDaniel's plan was to have Trump pardon Paul Manafort so he could use that $500,000 to lead the RNC's anti-corruption campaign. Nothing but the best people with the best of intentions.

  5. gertie97 says:

    Let's get a grip. While hiring ambassadors who (coincidentally, I'm sure) donated to Trump's campaign is far higher than the recent norm, he's hardly the only one.

    According to a Public Radio International story a month ago, 38 percent of Gerry Ford's ambassadorial choices were political donors. For Jimmy Carter, 26 percent.

    It was 38 percent for Reagan, 31 percent for Bush, 28 percent for Clinton, 32 percent for Shrub and 30 percent for Obama.

    Trump, being far greedier than the average, is at 45 percent so far.

    The Constitution lays out no qualifications for ambassadors but does require Senate consent.

    No question a fix should be found.


    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      American Foreign Service Association clarifies: "Bahamas… Nomination withdrawn on 11/13/19

      The Association count, Updated: November 14, 2019

      Total Appointments: 165  (many appointed, but not yet confirmed)
      Career Appointments: 92/55.8%
      Political Appointments: 73/44.2%

      22 posts have "NO APPOINTMENTS"

  6. MADCO says:

    You make it so worse than it really is

    It's not this guy: "…federal grand jury of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California indicted Hunter and his wife on 60 counts of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations, and conspiracy."



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