Department of State

Ambassador Posts Don't Come Cheap

They're not technically for sale, but ...

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To land a high-profile ambassadorship, it helps to have raised a ton of money for a successful presidential candidate and know how to throw a good party. That's one reason why President Obama is considering Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour as the next U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James's in the U.K. Wintour raised more than $500,000 for Obama and inspired the "Runway to Win" fashion line that brought in upwards of $40 million for his campaign.

But that's just the price of admission. The funds embassies receive from the U.S. Department of State don't begin to cover the high costs of the frequent parties and dinners ambassadors are expected to host. Some wind up paying more than $1 million a year out of their own pockets, according to one of the president's top donors who requested anonymity because he didn't want to discuss private conversations.