Sam Fox bigraphy, stories - American diplomat

Sam Fox : biography

May 9, 1929 -

Sam Fox (born May 9, 1929) is an American businessman in St. Louis. He was the United States Ambassador to Belgium from April 11, 2007 until January 2, 2009. President George W. Bush appointed Fox to the post by a recess appointment on April 4, 2007.

Ambassadorial nomination

On October 15, 2004, Mr. Fox donated $50,000 to The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT). Mr. Fox made this donation knowing that the SBVT claims against Kerry had been challenged. He also knew that a group opposing the re-election of President Bush had posted to the Internet an ad comparing President Bush to Adolph Hitler. The ad itself can be seen at

Fox was nominated for the position of Ambassador in December 2006. During his February 2007 hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Fox was supported by both of Missouri's senators, Republican Kit Bond and Democrat Clair McCaskill, as well as by two former U.S. Senators from Missouri, John C. Danforth (Rep.) and the late Thomas F. Eagleton (Dem.). Danforth descried him as "very bright...ebullient...(and) a soft touch," while Eagleton, in a letter, called him "the epitome of a humanitarian."Transcript of the Hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Feb 27,2007. The transcript is online at Fox faced lengthy questioning from the target of attacks by the 527 group he contributed to in 2004, Senator John Kerry. Kerry told Fox that he represented "the quintessential Horatio Alger story"Ibid and that his experience was "impressive... (and) a lot more than some people bring to this table."Ibid But he interrogated Fox for approximately 35 minutes, beginning with 20 minutes of questioning directly pertinent to the ambassadorial position for which Fox was nominated, such as the tensions over the U.S. Terrorist Finance Tracking Program which accessed transaction databases of the SWIFT network. Kerry continued with a series of questions related to Fox's financial support of a 527 group which had attacked Kerry's military record during the 2004 campaign. In response to the question from Kerry, "I assume that you believe the truth in public life is important," Fox answered, "Yes, sir." Kerry then followed with, "And might I ask you what your opinion is with respect to the state of American politics, as regards the politics of personal destruction?" to which Fox replied "I'm against 527s, I've always been against 527s....Senator Kerry, I very much respect your dedicated service to this country... Senator, you're a hero."

But in response to follow up questions from Kerry, Fox said he had given to the 527 that attacked him because "when we're asked we generally give." For example, he said, in the most recent two-year period, he had made more than 1,000 contributions, of which more than 100 were political. However he did not express regret for his contribution to the attacks on Kerry's miliary record in 2004. He noted that 527s supporting both candidates in the electorate had made "mean and destructive" claims, and that a video posted on the website has compared the President to Hitler. He said that as long as one side was making such claims, "politically it's necessary."Ibid

Recess Appointment

On April 4, 2007, while the Senate was in recess, Bush used his power of recess appointment to secure Fox's position without the need for Senate approval. This made Fox ambassador until the end of the next session of Congress, and effectively made him ambassador for the remainder of the Bush presidency.Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution

Reactions to the Recess Appointment

Senate / Democratic Reaction

Several Democratic Senators criticized Bush's decision to make a recess appointment when the nomination was no longer pending before Congress. They also argued that this use of the recess appointment power was illegal because of statutory restrictions applicable to ambassadorships.

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