America ideally is a land of equal opportunity. To some extent that is true, but there are some people who abuse their position and take advantage of the generosity of the American people. A story posted in The Boston Herald yesterday illustrates how a charity can be used for personal gain–I am not talking about the Clinton Foundation, but the Clinton Foundation might have gotten a few ideas from what I am about to share.
The article reports:
Do you know how much money Joe Kennedy, the former congressman, is now making at his “nonprofit”?
According to the most recent documents, his “public charity” has filed with the state attorney general, in 2016 Kennedy pocketed a total of $824,929 — $109,336 from Citizens Energy and $715,703 from “related organizations.”
His second wife, Beth, grabbed another $316,573 — $55,222 from Citizens Energy and $261,351 from those “related organizations.”
…Kerry Kennedy, got back into the news recently.
… like her older brother, Kerry, too, is fabulously well-to-do thanks to a family “nonprofit.”
The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights foundation pays her $352,298 a year, including a $70,000 “bonus.”
…Reading the stories about Kerry’s big payday reminded me of Joe K. And it’s not only him and the second missus who are getting rich off the Citizens Energy gig — I mean, nonprofit.
According to the public filing, CE’s CEO, one Peter Smith, made $627,983 in 2016. The chief financial officer, Ernest Panos, pocketed $447,260. Joe’s flack in his congressional office — Brian O’Connor — now makes $240,962 a year at Citizens Energy.
Charity Navigator, a somewhat reliable source for rating charities, does not rate Citizens Energy Corp because Charity Navigator only rates organizations that are classified as 501(c)(3) and able to accept tax-deductible donations. Citizens Energy Corp is classified as a 501(c)(4). However, just as a point of reference, Charity Navigator does rate the Clinton Foundation as 92.40 out of 100. I find that somewhat questionable.
It seems to me that there are people making large amounts of money due to the generosity of the American people. The government should not be in the business of determining the wages of anyone, but it seems to me that those running non-profit organizations should be paid salaries more in line with the average American. Helping people in need should not be a million-dollar-a-year job. I suspect the only way to deal with this problem is for the American people to pay more attention to the charities they support. More transparency from charities would also be helpful. Americans are a very generous people. It is unfortunate that there are those among us who are taking advantage of that generosity.