A new piece of legislation introduced in Washington, D.C. aims to increase transparency around U.S. ambassador appointments. Among the steps it would take, the “BEST Ambassador Act” would require nominees to demonstrate a knowledge of the country where they would serve as ambassador.
The bill was put forth by U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, D-Bloomfield Township. He says that means facts about the country’s cultural, economic and political landscape.
“It’s really just a way to go forward to make sure we have the best government that we can.” —Rep. Andy Levin
“It also requires that nominees report campaign contributions,” says Levin, “not only their own but their immediate family over the past 10 years. And then the secretary of state has to publish all this.”
Levin says with presidents choosing their own nominations, about 30% of U.S. ambassadors are political appointments at any given time.
“It’s just not something I think Republicans in general have been worse on or Democrats better,” says Levin. “It’s really just a way to go forward to make sure we have the best government that we can.”
The proposed bill was co-signed by U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids. Levin says he hopes the bill will gain additional bipartisan support.
Listen: U.S. Rep. Andy Levin discusses the BEST Ambassador Act.