Will Massachusetts Have A New Senator Kennedy?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts. Representative Kennedy has confirmed reports that he is considering running for the Senate to replace current Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.  It will be interesting to see if he actually runs. Senator Markey is well liked among Massachusetts Democrats, and Joe Kennedy running against him might not be well received by the Massachusetts Democrat party.

The article concludes:

Earlier this month, when a Markey spokesperson was asked about the possibility of Kennedy primarying the senator, Giselle Barry, said, “Senator Markey is running for reelection no matter who enters the race. He is crisscrossing the state and will run his campaign hard every day.”

The other senator from Massachusetts is 2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren. In the event she wins the 2020 general election, she would be forced to vacate her seat in the Senate. She stuck by her previous endorsement of Markey a couple weeks ago, while also calling Kennedy “an amazing reports” amid reports that the congressman could enter the race.

Elizabeth Warren is not up for re-election until 2024. This could get interesting.

I Don’t Like Federal Regulations, But…

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.

Skewing The Definition Of Charity

I haven’t written about the death of Hugo Chavez. My only comment is, “If this man cared so much about the poor, why was he worth millions when he died?” In contrast, how much was Mother Theresa worth when she died? Just an observation…

Today’s New York Post posted a story about how the death of Hugo Chavez will impact Citizens Energy Corp, the organization founded in 1979 by Joe Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy‘s oldest son. The organization provides assistance to Massachusetts residents who need help paying for heating oil in the winter. The charity is able to do this by buying crude oil from Venezuela at below market price, selling it at the market price and using the difference to provide oil for people who need it. It really is a good idea and works well.

People should be paid fairly for their work, even when they work for a non-profit organization, but somehow I think we have forgotten that a non-profit organization is supposed to be supporting a cause of some sort and that’s where most of it’s money should go.

The article reports:

After Joe Kennedy left Congress, he returned to run Citizens Energy. That job paid him $86,311 in 2010. But the bulk of his income comes from his for-profit companies — Citizens Enterprises Corp. and Citizens Investments Ltd. — which together paid him $807,390 in salary and benefits. Kennedy’s wife, Elizabeth, raked in $346,764 from the nonprofit, where she is marketing director, and from the for-profit companies.

I would have left Congress too! Note that Elizabeth Kennedy was making more than $300,000 from the nonprofit company. I really think that is a little much.

The article concludes:

The oil started to flow in 2005 via two related nonprofits. Citizens Programs Corp., a charitable foundation, takes in the heating oil — $59 million worth in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. It immediately sells the supply to an undisclosed “prearranged buyer,” according to its tax returns. The proceeds are used to buy 100 gallons of heating oil for 200,000 needy households in 25 states and Washington, DC.

The distribution is done through Citizens Energy, which receives a $5 million management fee from Citizens Programs.

Citizens Programs uses some of its oil riches — $4 million in fiscal year 2011 — to pay for its ubiquitous advertising program. Running a call center and the “Joe-4-Oil” hot line costs $1.3 million.

A spokesman for the groups refused to answer questions about the operation.

Kennedy also funnels cash to his family’s own causes, including the Robert F. Kennedy Center in DC.

I think Joe Kennedy’s commitment to helping the poor stay warm in the winter is wonderful. The cost of living is high in Massachusetts, and a lot of people have been helped by Citizens Energy Corp. I just wonder about the details of how the money was spent.

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Massachusetts Fourth Congressional District

Today’s Attleboro Sun Chronicle reported the results of the Massachusetts Fourth Congressional District primary.

These are the numbers as reported by the Sun Chronicle:

U.S. House – District 4 – Dem Primary
September 07, 2012 – 09:41AM ET
Massachusetts – 215 of 220 Precincts Reporting – 98%

Name                         Party       Votes       Vote %
Kennedy , Joe            Dem      35,318        90%
Brown , Rachel          Dem        2,411          6%
Robinson , Herb         Dem        1,314          3%

U.S. House – District 4 – GOP Primary
September 07, 2012 – 01:38AM ET
Massachusetts – 207 of 220 Precincts Reporting – 94%

Name                        Party        Votes       Vote %
Bielat , Sean              GOP      13,844        73%
Childs , Elizabeth      GOP       2,594        14%
Steinhof , David         GOP       2,530        13%

There are a few things we can learn from these numbers. About 39,000 people voted in the Democrat primary, about 19,000 people voted in the Republican primary. That alone means that Sean Bielat has a difficult job ahead of him in order to win the election. It can be done, but it will be difficult. Also, notice that the Democrats opposing Joe Kennedy got a total of 9% of the votes; the Republicans opposing Sean Bielat got almost 30% of the vote. Evidently the Kennedy name still has value in an election despite all the scandals connected to it.

I don’t know how many independent voters there are in the Massachusetts Fourth Congressional District. I suspect that Sean Bielat is hoping that there are a lot of them. In order for Sean Bielat to win, he needs the independent voters and the voters who are tired of the status quo represented by Joe Kennedy. Admittedly Joe Kennedy is a fresh candidate, but his ideas represent the Democrat establishment. If the voters look around and decide that the Democrat establishment (and the Republican establishment) does not work, Sean Bielat can win.

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