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by David Horowitz
This report by Ben Johnson documents the tax-exempt giving by Teresa Heinz Kerry to political groups, which are shaping the American future. The structure of the U.S. tax code designates only those groups that directly promote candidates and electoral parties as political. Partisan ideological groups that claim to be serving the “general welfare” can qualify for “charitable” 501(c)(3) status and receive tax-deductible contributions. As a result of this quirk in the tax code, an entire universe of shadow political organizations has been created. In between elections cycles, these organizations dominate the non-governmental political discourse of the nation, shaping the debates over national security, immigration, the environment, social values, and every other political issue. They also play a large role in the election cycles themselves.
Groups like the ACLU, which lobbies against Republican judicial appointments, or United for Peace and Justice, which is the umbrella group that organized the demonstrations against the war in Iraq and the protests against the Republican National Convention in New York, are “non-political” under the current tax code, qualifying as “charitable” and tax-exempt. Of course this loophole is not confined to the political left. The conservative side of the political debate has comparable 501(c)(3)s, which engage in shadow politics, but not nearly as many as the left and not nearly as well-funded. This will come as a surprise to some, since the mythology promulgated by a left-wing media maintains that giant foundations of the right – Olin, Scaife and Bradley are the institutions most frequently cited – provide conservatives who are the party of the rich (another leftist myth) with an overwhelming advantage in the shadow political battles, also known as the “culture wars.”
A group of activists led by Hillary Clinton has recently created a new $20 million left-wing think tank, funded by billionaire George Soros, called the Center for American Progress, on just that presumption. Its executive director, former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, explained the need for its creation by alleging, “For more than a decade, the right wing has had a lock on the use of think tanks as policy promotion ‘political weapons.’” This sentiment is echoed in a report by one of the most well heeled left-wing organizations, People for the American Way, which claims, “One consequence of this extraordinary level of funding from right-wing foundations is that these conservative think tanks vastly outspend their progressive counterparts.”
The facts suggest a different reality. As Ben Johnson’s report shows, Teresa Heinz Kerry, all by herself, presides over greater assets involved in the funding of shadow political activities than the three chief conservative foundations – Scaife, Olin and Bradley – combined. While, these conservative foundations have combined assets of $809 million, the three Heinz Endowments, in whose boardrooms Teresa Heinz Kerry speaks with a voice louder than all others, have total assets of $1.2 billion. Mrs. Kerry also sits on the board of the Carnegie Corporation, which as this report reveals is also an active funder of the political left and which has assets of $1.6 billion. In other words, Mrs. Kerry has a say in the disposition of funds earmarked for the left which are more than three times greater than the celebrated funders of the right combined. And this is only a part of Mrs. Kerry’s raw financial power in these matters. As Ben Johnson notes, “Teresa Heinz Kerry [also] heads the H. John Heinz III Foundation and the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Foundation, but due to their tax status, she is not required to provide detailed records of how they receive their funding – nor to whom they award their grants.” Even though she is the wife of a presidential candidate, whose disposable political assets are a matter of public interest, Mrs. Kerry has steadfastly refused to open the records of these foundations to public scrutiny.
The raw figures available provide a benchmark that allows us to put Mrs. Kerry’s influence in perspective. Without question, she is a major player in the culture wars between left and right, and in the shadow universe that shapes the political future. What she has invested in these conflicts significantly affects the political fortunes of her candidate husband, as well, and provides important clues as to what she would do if she were to become first lady with the prestige and resources of the federal government behind her.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Ben Johnson’s report what it reveals about the scope of Mrs. Kerry’s political investments and the range of left-wing agendas she supports. Directly or indirectly, Teresa Heinz Kerry has sponsored a political spectrum that includes violent anarchists, anti-free market socialists, anti-Homeland Security activists, racial dividers, open borders agitators, pro-terrorist radicals and a range of honors and tributes that includes a memorial to an environmentalist whose misguided reforms have led to the unnecessary deaths of tens of millions of African children. Mrs. Kerry’s beneficiaries are in the forefront of the attacks on the Patriot Act, for which her husband voted; they are organizers of the demonstrations against the war in Iraq that her husband supported and the disorderly protests at the Republican convention to nominate his opponent. And they are behind the campaign to open America’s borders and remove existing border controls, and thus to weaken homeland security in the War on Terror.
The political donations of foundations like the Heinz Endowments and the more secretive trusts controlled by Mrs. Kerry are not seriously scrutinized by the government or the representatives of the American people, although the monies invested surely impact the future of all Americans. The funds themselves are held in perpetuity and can shift in their direction from one end of the political spectrum to the other on the whim of individuals and without accountability to any wider public constituency. The late John Heinz was a Republican. The wife who inherited his power in the Heinz Endowments evidently was not. Is this shift in the disposition of billions fair and just (as a leftist might say in other circumstances)? Probably not. But what is to be done about it? Subjecting the activities of such endowments to public scrutiny, as this report by Ben Johnson does, can provide the beginning of an answer.
57 Varieties of Leftist Causes
by Ben Johnson
From intimations that she is still in love with first husband John Heinz, to the speech she insisted on giving at the Democratic National Convention in which she droned on and on about herself before mentioning her current husband (the one running for president), Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira Heinz Kerry has made headlines a wise candidate (or candidate’s wife) would normally avoid. Responding to the Bush administration’s (non-existent) attacks on her husband’s patriotism, she called the president and vice president “unpatriotic.” She then famously stole a news cycle from her husband’s campaign by calling her political opponents “un-American.” When Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Colin McNickle requested a clarification she responded, “You said something I didn't say, now shove it!” A sympathetic media protected her by focusing on her coarse verbiage, not the fact that videotape had captured the speech and verified that she did.
This report does not deal with Teresa Heinz Kerry’s sharp tongue or colorful campaign gaffes. Instead, it focuses on the activities that have occupied her adult life: the tax-exempt giving she has authorized as head of the Heinz Endowments and as a board member of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. As chair of the Heinz Family Foundation, chair of the Howard Heinz Endowment, and a board member of the Vira I. Heinz Endowment, she is trustee of more than $1.2 billion in assets and more than $60 million a year in grant monies. As trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, she casts her vote on dispensing $1.8 billion in assets and an additional $80 million in grant monies every year.
The radical nature of the organizations she has funded in her capacity as a trustee of these foundations is, to say the least, unsettling. It is an issue that takes on added importance as she has pledged to continue her role as head of these philanthropies if she becomes first lady. Having recently experienced how a strong-willed, politically motivated first lady can affect the policies of government, the American electorate deserves to know what kinds of causes Teresa Heinz Kerry has supported in her public life. This report is intended to fill that gap.
All grant figures have been taken from the relevant IRS 990 forms for the years 1998-2002, or from the Heinz Endowments’ website for the year 2003.
The report begins with a topic that has generated the most heat and least light in the discussion of Mrs. Kerry’s activities: her long connection to the shadowy Tides Foundation and Tides Center of San Francisco. It goes on to explore the impressive array of left-wing groups, her charities have funded including the not-so-charitable organizers of this year’s anti-Republican protests at the GOP’s national convention in New York City. The causes her funding has promoted include anti-Homeland Security advocates, “open borders” lobbyists, radical feminists and anti-gun zealots. A special section focuses on the immense largesse dispensed to radical environmentalist groups, clearly the cause dearest to Mrs. Kerry’s heart.
It should be noted that even this picture is necessarily incomplete, since Teresa Heinz Kerry has steadfastly refused to release her tax records – a refusal unprecedented for the spouse of a presidential (or vice-presidential) candidate. In addition to the Howard Heinz and Vira I. Heinz Endowments, Teresa Heinz Kerry heads up the H. John Heinz III Foundation and the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Foundation, but due to their tax status, she is not required to provide detailed records of how they receive their funding – nor to whom they award their grants. These records will only be available when Teresa Heinz Kerry ends her historic stonewall – a stonewall she would never accept from any corporation – and discloses her full financial records to public scrutiny. In addition to providing the American people with needed information about a woman at the center of their political life, it would end what she derides as baseless speculation about her finances. We hope the day will be soon in coming, but until it does, her refusal will lend strength to the suspicion that scrutiny is exactly what Teresa Heinz Kerry doesn’t want.
Chapter 1: The Truth About Tides
Interest in Teresa Heinz Kerry’s left-wing “philanthropy” was first stimulated when media outlets revealed her close association with the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation and its spin-off, the Tides Center. An article published by the Capital Research Center’s Tom Randall made the nation aware of Tides’ left-wing orientation and ties to radical organizations – as well as its connections to President Bush’s political opponents, including the “September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows,” a group of anti-War-on-Terror activists with family ties to 9/11. (The group had protested a five-second clip of 9/11 images in a Bush campaign ad.)
Over the last decade, Teresa Heinz Kerry has steered $8.1 million to the Tides group, which is a nerve center of the left and which has funneled the monies to numerous radical groups. When the stories about Mrs. Kerry’s connection to Tides appeared, all identified parties protested their innocence, and a politically sympathetic media conveniently dismissed the connections. But, the facts themselves will not go away.
What is Tides?
The Tides Foundation is a tax-exempt charity established in 1976 by antiwar activist Drummond Pike. It distributes millions of dollars every year to political organizations identified with left-wing causes. Among these are United for Peace and Justice, which is led by pro-Castro activist Leslie Cagan; the National Lawyers Guild, an organization with fifty years of involvement in pro-Communist and anti-American causes; the equally radical Center for Constitutional Rights; and the Council for American Islamic Relations, three of whose executives have been indicted for terrorist activities. The Tides Foundation and the closely allied Tides Center, distributed nearly $66 million in grants to radical organizations in 2002 alone.
The Tides Center is a spin off of the Tide Foundation run by the same executive director, Drummond Pike. Although they are legally distinct, this is a distinction without a difference. The Tides Center and Foundation, along with two other Tides entities, “collaborate as partners,” according to Tides’ own official boilerplate.
During the last ten years, the Heinz Endowments, which Teresa Heinz Kerry heads, have given the Tides entities $8.1 million in grants. Until February 2001, Kerry was also a trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Carnegie has given Tides numerous six-figure grants.
Tides’ defining feature is that it allows donors to anonymously contribute money to a variety of causes – and thereby avoid public accountability for their donations. The donor simply makes the check out to Tides and instructs the Foundation where to forward the money. This allows high-profile individuals to fund extremist organizations by “laundering” their money through Tides, leaving no paper trail. Founder Drummond Pike referred to his organization as “a convenient vehicle with squeaky clean books.” The Tides Foundation keeps as much as ten percent of the total amount for “charitable advisory fees,” which it can use for administrative costs and also as a treasury over which it has discretionary control. Likewise, the Tides Center will handle administrative functions for third-party non-profit organizations compatible with its political agenda, skimming up to 10 percent of all donations for itself.
The projects and organizations the Tides Foundation has chosen to fund are troubling. For example, the so-called “legal left” (this is how its members refer to themselves) has been a prime beneficiary of Tides largesse. One of the principal recipients is the National Lawyers Guild, which began as a Communist front organization and, even after the fall of the Soviet empire, remains proud of its lineage. In October 2003, its national convention featured a keynote address by one of its most celebrated and admired figures, attorney Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a veteran of the hard left, specializing in defending terrorists, who has been indicted by the Justice Department for providing “material support” to the man who tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman killed six people and injured more than a thousand before Stewart took him on as a client and subsequently endorsed his agendas. The Justice Department accuses Stewart of helping Rahman communicate from prison with his terrorist “Islamic Group” and abet his terrorist activities.
Stewart’s support for terrorist activities against defenders of what she calls “capitalism” and “racism,” is not something she hides. “I don't believe in anarchist violence but in directed violence,” she told the New York Times in 1995. “That would be violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism, sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions and accompanied by popular support.” In her National Lawyers Guild keynote address, Stewart told her approving audience that they were carrying on a proud tradition of their forebears, past and present:
And modern heroes, dare I mention? Ho and Mao and Lenin, Fidel and Nelson Mandela and John Brown, Ché Guevara…Our quests like theirs are to shake the very foundations of the continents.
Recently, the National Lawyers Guild endorsed the “March 20 call to End Colonial Occupation from Iraq to Palestine & Everywhere” issued by International ANSWER, a Stalinist anti-war group, that like the National Lawyers Guild supports the Communist regime in North Korea. (The NLG recently sent a delegation of lawyers to Pyongyang to study its judicial system.) The National Lawyers Guild website also features a legal petition for “Post-Conviction Relief” for convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Along with George Soros and the Ford Foundation, Tides has also funneled tens of thousands of dollars to the Center for Constitutional Rights, an organization established by Sixties radicals William Kunstler and Arthur Kinoy. Prior to creating the Center, the two floated a plan to establish a new “Communist Party.” Not surprisingly, the old Communist Party USA has enjoyed a close relationship with the Center. In 1999, the party publication People’s Weekly World honored Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Ron Daniels alongside a member of the Communist Party national committee. Daniels, who was Deputy Campaign Manager for Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential run and the 1992 presidential candidate of the Peace and Freedom Party, has a longstanding cordial relationship with the racist, anti-Semitic former poet laureate of New Jersey, Amiri Baraka.
Echoing Tides’ mission statement, the Center claims it is “committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.” Since 9/11, the Center for Constitutional Rights has channeled its efforts into fighting the Bush administration’s every Homeland Security measure. The Center’s lawyers opposed increasing the government’s ability to wiretap Islamists suspected of plotting terrorism and bemoaned the sequestering of terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay as an inexcusable form of “racial profiling.” The Center’s president, Michael Ratner, has portrayed American foreign policy as the real cause of 9/11, because it allegedly provoked the terrorists. The Center has also defended Lynne Stewart’s “innocence” in aiding Sheikh Rahman’s Islamic Group and has filed an amicus brief on her behalf.
Immediately after 9/11, Tides formed a “9/11 Fund” to advocate a “peaceful national response” to the opening salvos of war. The Foundation replaced the 9/11 Fund with the “Democratic Justice Fund,” which was established with the aid of George Soros’ Open Society Institute. (Soros, a currency speculator and drug legalization advocate is a major contributor to Tides, having donated more than $7 million.)
Tides has also given grant money to the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Ostensibly a “Muslim civil rights group,” CAIR is in fact one of the leading anti-anti-terrorism organizations in the United States. CAIR regularly opposes American efforts to fight terrorists, claiming Homeland Security measures are responsible for an undocumented surge in “hate crimes.” CAIR officials have reason to fight Bush’s War on Terror measures, since many CAIR officials are on the record supporting terrorist organizations. In 1994, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad declared, “I am a supporter of the Hamas movement.” More recently, Community Affairs Director Bassem K. Khafagi pleaded guilty to charges of visa and bank fraud in connection with terrorist support activities. In 2003, Randall Royer, a Communications Specialist and Civil Rights Coordinator at CAIR, was arrested along with a group of Islamic radicals in Virginia for allegedly planning violent anti-American jihad. CAIR has defended terrorist “charities” shut down by the Bush administration. CAIR’s abysmal record led Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, to observe that its leaders have “intimate links with Hamas…we know CAIR has ties to terrorism.”
In addition to advocating a peaceful response to the 9/11 terror attacks, Tides has established an Iraq Peace Fund and a Peace Strategies Fund to finance the so-called antiwar movement. These projects fueled MoveOn.org, the website that powered the Howard Dean campaign and featured two separate commercials portraying President Bush as Adolf Hitler. MoveOn.org and the radical website Indymedia.org played key roles in creating that antiwar movement by providing activists with “alternate media coverage.” Indymedia.org, an enormous news and events bulletin board with local pages in most of the world’s major cities, provided a vital link for radical activists, often with violent agendas, to coordinate their protests. Indymedia received $376,000 from the Tides Foundation.
Turning the Tide for Castro
Tides also runs another “alternative media source,” the Institute for Global Communications, which describes itself as “a project of the Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.” A leftist communications facilitator, the Institute was the leading provider of web technology to the radical left during the 1990s. With Tides money, the Institute’s Canadian affiliate used an undersea cable to connect Castro’s Cuba to the internet in 1991. Rep. Mario Diaz-Bartlet, R-FL, a Cuban American commented: “When you give money to such an organization, it's because you sympathize with their work. If not, where is her outrage now that she knows?”
The Institute for Global Communications’ website links to such “recommended sites” as the War Resisters League, a radical group which focuses on non-payment of taxes as a form of protest and the equally radical American Friends Service Committee. Most disturbing is its link to Ramsey Clark’s International Action Center, a front for the Workers World Party, a Marxist-Leninist vanguard that supports international war criminal Slobodan Milosevic and North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Il. Interestingly, Tides claims it cannot “find any association with [IAC] in our records.”
The International Action Center is the force behind International ANSWER, which sponsored the major antiwar (and anti-Bush) rallies in the days before Operation Iraqi Freedom. When ANSWER was outed as a Communist organization in the fall of 2002, Tides beneficiary United for Peace and Justice was created as its “moderate” alternative. United for Peace and Justice was created in the offices of People for the American Way, an organization also funded by Tides. It was headed by longtime Communist Party member and pro-Castro activist Leslie Cagan who maintained her membership in the party after the fall of the Berlin Wall. United for Peace and Justice co-founder Medea Benjamin also made the pilgrimage to Castro’s island gulag, saying on her return that the contrast with her own country “made it seem like I died and went to heaven.” The Tides-funded “A Better Way Project,” has also coordinated efforts of United for Peace and Justice and the Win Without War Coalition, another radical group.
The confluence of People for the American Way, Win Without War, George Soros and Tides provides a typical example of well-financed, overlapping radical causes uniting to oppose a Republican president – all using the loophole provided by the tax code under the rubric of “charitable activities.” Tides-funded groups also specifically targeted the Republican National Convention in New York City for violence. Since 1999, the Tides Foundation has donated $150,000 in grants to the Ruckus Society, a violent anarchist group. Along with Medea Benjamin’s Global Exchange, Ruckus wreaked havoc on Seattle during the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting, causing thousands of dollars in property damage through “direct action.” Executive Director John Sellers defended his actions in the pages of Mother Jones, saying, “I think you can be destructive, you can use vandalism strategically.” Ruckus now teaches these techniques to other “activists.” Among the topics taught at Ruckus boot camps are “street blockades,” “police confrontation strategies” and “using the media to your advantage.” Their most recent project is protesting the Republican Party’s 2004 convention…and they are not the only Heinz-funded organization going (see next chapter).
Like the “United Way”?
When confronted with news reports of the involvement of his patron Teresa Heinz Kerry and the Heinz Endowments in radical activities through Tides, Endowment executive Maxwell King took umbrage at being tied to the Tides Center. After media stories began exposing Heinz’s longstanding relationship to Tides, he responded:
The Heinz Endowments has been accused of using its funding of the Tides Center of Western Pennsylvania to advance a laundry list of partisan causes and fringe political groups…The Heinz Endowments has scrupulously observed both the letter and the spirit of the law barring foundations from partisan activity. That hasn’t changed. These accusations to the contrary are rooted in politics, not fact.
He also stated “by legally binding contract” every penny of Heinz money went to other charities, which happened to be administered by the Tides Center or were granted through the Tides Foundation. However, as noted above, both organizations take a ten percent fee, often directing this tithe to the “progressive” causes listed above.
He then claimed Tides supports several causes. “It is no more accurate to suggest that Heinz supports every one of these programs than it is to suggest that someone who contributes to a specific group through the United Way supports the agenda of every other United Way beneficiary.”
The Tides Center describes its political agenda another way. “For more than twenty years, Tides Center has been working with new and emerging charitable organizations who share our mission of striving for positive social change.” (Notice the similarity to the Center for Constitutional Rights’ mission statement.) The Tides Foundation defines this as, “strengthening…the progressive movement through innovative grantmaking.” This agenda hardly bears comparison to that of the United Way. Of course a pliant press permitted King to get away with his deception.
In fact, Teresa Heinz Kerry’s various charities donated $1.6 million to establish the Tides Center for Western Pennsylvania, allowing the San Francisco-based Tides Center to set up shop in the east. Tides employees did not see this windfall as a chance to reinvent the Center along the lines of the United Way. “They saw it as a great opportunity to encourage a progressive social agenda,” said Jo DeBolt, director of the Tides Center of Western Pennsylvania. Although any non-profit group can apply for Tides’ services, DeBolt says, “We look at mission fit as the No. 1 cut.”
In the field of philanthropy, grants are normally weighed carefully. Thus, Teresa Heinz Kerry’s decision to become a major funder of Tides is hardly an oversight. However, her decade-long, intimate financial relationship with the financial nerve center of the radical left has gone without media scrutiny. Far from being a “red herring,” as her defenders have claimed, Teresa Heinz Kerry’s patronage of Tides speaks volumes about her political motivations and the groups who would have her ear in a Kerry administration.
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