by Plutonium Page
Mon Aug 1st, 2005 at 05:49:43 PM EST
(Also posted at The Next Hurrah)
Last week, the Bush administration announced the nomination of California billionaire Roland Arnall as the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. So who is this guy? Why did Bush choose him?
Well, let's take a look at Dutch news, first. There will probably be a more detailed article in de Volkskrant (a Dutch newspaper) soon, but here's the translation of a brief online news update:
The intended ambassador for the US in the Netherlands, Arnall, has been sued in the US by customers of his mortgage company. The customers demand money, because Arnalls company provided them with loans they could not afford, and with a higher interest rate than was agreed upon.
Tens of thousands of Americans in 30 states started proceedings against Arnalls company, Ameriquest.
The 65-year old billionaire is a friend of president Bush, and put a lot of money in his election campaign. The senate must still approve his appointment.
Well, that gets right to the point. What are this guy's qualifications?
The Washington Post says
Arnall's company, Ameriquest Mortgage Co., is being investigated by regulators in 30 states. A $325 million settlement would be one of the largest ever in a predatory lending case.
Arnall is the firm's principal shareholder. He, his wife and their companies have been the biggest political contributors to Bush since 2002.
Speaking about the ambassadorial nomination, White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said: "The president . . . feels Mr. Arnall is well qualified for the position. He had a long career in the private sector and has contributed a great deal to his community."
Ok, so, how the hell does "a long career in the private sector" qualify anyone as a diplomat? Newsflash: that's a rhetorical question.
Mr. Arnall must have also included this in his job application (scroll down):
Major 527 donor Dawn Arnall should be happy to have her husband, Roland, nominated as Ambassador to the Netherlands. Roland is Chairman of Ameriquest, and Dawn is co-Chairman. Dawn Arnall gave $5 million in August 2004 to Progress for America Voter Fund, a 527 organization.
From the Progress for America Voter Fund "About Us" page:
The liberal politicians are working overtime to push their failed policies on America and distort the accomplished public policy records of conservative leaders across this nation... Progress for America Voter Fund ("PFA-VF") is a conservative issue advocacy organization dedicated to keeping the issue record straight on the campaign trail and serving as a "Political Truth Squad".
(PFA-VF latest "truth squad" effort is the launch of judgeroberts.com.)
So, the short version of the story: it's the best diplomatic post money can buy. It's heartbreaking that the Euro is worth more than the dollar. I mean, $1 million is only € 800,000. Arnall will have to cut down on his expenses.