Seattle businesswoman Cynthia Stroum was placed to represent the United States to Luxembourg as Ambassador after backing the Obama campaign in such a way that she was known as a ‘superstar’ donor. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Luxembourg is a tiny country without a complex diplomatic mission, Stroum’s tenure there turned into a disgrace and a disaster.
Stroum was stationed in Luxembourg for about one year, but in that short amount of time she was able to develop personality conflicts, engage in verbal abuse, and overspend in such areas as travel, wine and harder drinks, all according to a report internal to the State Department but released last Thursday.
According to the report which was written last fall before the sudden resignation of the ambassador, the embassy in Luxembourg “has underperformed for the entirety of the current ambassador's tenure. At present, due to internal problems, it plays no significant role in policy advocacy or reporting, though developments in Luxembourg are certainly of interest to Washington clients and other U.S. missions in the NATO and EU communities."
Ambassador Stroum just a few days before the report was released publicly, officially on January 31st, 2011. The scandal illustrates the pitfall of handing over plum jobs to non-career diplomats merely on the basis of rewarding a supporter for their financial support.