Obama Donor Was Abysmal Ambassador: Report

Cynthia Stroum quit Luxembourg post days before release of scathing report
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2011 10:44 AM CST
In this Nov. 11, 2010, then-US Ambassador to Luxembourg Cynthia Stroum speaks to the crowd during the Veteran’s Day ceremony at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial.   (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

(Newser) – Believe it or not, it turns out being a mega-campaign donor does not necessarily make you an awesome ambassador! A State Department report released yesterday absolutely savages Cynthia Stroum, a wealthy Seattle businesswoman whose prodigious campaign contributions landed her the post of ambassador to Luxembourg. She resigned less than a week ago, according to the AP, and if the report is to be believed, she won’t be missed. The embassy, it says, “has underperformed for the entirety of the current ambassador’s tenure” of about a year.

“The bulk of the mission’s internal problems are linked to her leadership deficiencies,” the report continues. Stroum often publicly criticized or threatened her workers, an unusual number of whom asked to be reassigned—even if it meant going to Afghanistan or Iraq. The situation was so bad that the inspector general recommended that the State Department dispatch medical personnel to Luxembourg to test the stress levels of embassy employees. She’s also accused of improper expenditures on things like travel, alcohol, and even a new bed—she “preferred a queen bed to the king-size bed already provided.” For more on the all-too-common practice of handing ambassadorships to big donors, click here. (Read more ambassador stories.)

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