When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.
Just out of curiosity, do some countries HAVE more international judges than others? I know the judges are volunteers, but doesn't the training system for judges vary from country to country? Do some countries subsidize training for judges and others not offer any financial support?
ISU Communication 1692 lists all the ISU and international judges and referees qualified for the 2011-12 season, for the federations to verify. Communication 1699 contains corrections (additions and deletions) based on the federations' verification.
Not surprisingly, the federations with the most international officials are the Grand Prix countries, and Germany.
As I understand it (Rule 582.4), the federations tell the ISU which events they want to submit one judge for and then for each event there is a draw for which countries get one judge. But they don't submit the specific judges by name for the draw.
So ultimately it doesn't matter how many total judges the country has -- they can submit one for each discipline at a championship and have the possibility of getting assigned to all four disciplines as long as they have one qualified dance judge and two qualified singles/pairs judges (because individual judges aren't supposed to judge more than two events at the same competition).
Martian Judge on Ladies' panel: Oh hello, Mercurian Judge! [I'll skip the pat pat kiss kiss part.] Saw your girl on practice today.
Mercurian Judge on Pairs' panel: Yes, MercurianLady1 has improved a great deal this year. She's added triiiple Luuutz and is pushing the younger girls. Much improvement, much improvement. Watch her footwork: so much speed with clean edges! I saw the pair today, how do you say, MartianPair1 and MartianPair1?
Martian Ladies' Judge: Oh yes, aren't they wonderful! You know what impresses me the most? How they interpret that long program, with so much emotion. They truly skate as one and use the transitions beautifully to tell the story. At Nationals, they just took my breath away! An they're so fast with such lovely flow. Take a look at MartianPair1's extension in the lifts - such beautiful positions, I don't know how she does that! Of course, MartianPair2 and MartianPair2 are no slouch in the lift department. All level 4s and nicely executed, too! Still a little rough around the edges, but watch the height on the triple twist. They could be something.
Mercurian Pair Judge: I will certainly look for them in practice; you know me, I luuuuve high triple twists! Oh dear, your glass is empty. Please, let me.
Has anyone fudged marks based on nationality? No. Has anyone tried to promote the skater from their own country in the event that they're judging? No. Has anyone managed the impression of their country's skaters to someone judging the event by pointing out the strengths of their country's skaters? That's not political judging, per se, but I would call it politics - and it happens not just in international figure skating, but in business, government politics, etc. There's a difference between introducing people to what you want them to notice and outright political judging.
The more bodies on the ground to hear what's being said and say what wants to be said, the better. That includes association staff, Team Leaders, judges, tech panel officials, athletes (unless they're Juniors: one year, the Team Leader for JGF nearly passed out when she discovered that she had something like 23 athletes, all under the age of 18), etc.
I'm not trying to defend this practice necessarily; I'm trying to point out that there are plenty of ways to influence the marks given to a skater without manipulating the marks that one gives or making deals that involve manipulation of marks.