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Biden nominates megadonor and former Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman to be ambassador to Kenya

Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi speaks in Laguna Beach, California, October 22, 2019.

Mike Blake | Reuters

President Joe Biden has picked big money political donor and former Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman to be his ambassador to Kenya.

Whitman spent decades in high-level corporate roles, but she has also been politically active for years.

She ran in 2010 as a Republican for governor in California but lost to Democrat Jerry Brown. She supported now-Sen. Mitt Romney’s runs for president in 2008 – before she eventually became Sen. John McCain’s national campaign co-chair – and in 2012. She backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race against Donald Trump.

Last year, she gave $500,000 to the Biden Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that benefited the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

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Wealthy donors often get ambassadorships in Democratic and Republican administrations alike.

Data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows that well over a dozen Obama campaign supporters became ambassadors during his administration. Biden previously picked donor Tom Nides, a former executive at Morgan Stanley who had a stint in the Obama administration, to be the U.S. ambassador to Israel. Former President Donald Trump also chose ambassadors to various countries after they contributed to his campaign.

In announcing Biden’s selection of Whitman, the White House noted her extensive business background.

Before she ran Hewlett-Packard, Whitman was the CEO of e-commerce giant eBay. Whitman eventually became the CEO of Quibi, a short-lived, short-form video platform that was founded by Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg.

She serves on the boards of General Motors and Procter & Gamble.

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