John Kerry: No Blind Trusts, Tax Avoidance, and Conflicts of Interest

Kerry’s financial report contains no reference to blind trusts. Dan Auble of CRP concurs, noting that blind trust owners would have the “Qualified Blind Trust column checked in the Part III/Type of Income section.” This column isn’t checked once among the hundreds of Kerry’s (and Teresa’s) itemized investments.

The New York Times also derogated mixing one’s business interests with policies promoted in Congress:

[Issa’s] pro-business policies usually align closely with those of the firms he has worked with in his wide-ranging business career both before and after he joined Congress.

John and Teresa have numerous investments in the businesses and industries that stand to benefit from favorable legislation Kerry has voted for in recent years.

Kerry voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. Also known as Troubled Asset Relief Program, it authorized the “Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system.”

During this time, Kerry owned and traded in stocks of numerous banks receiving government bailout money: Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase & Co, State Street Corp, U.S. Bancorp, and Wells Fargo. Teresa also owns stock in many of these banks, worth an estimated $2.6M ($1.6-$3.5M).

Between 2003 and 2009, Kerry’s financial transactions included 61 purchases and sales of the above mentioned banking stocks; 50 of them occurred in 2009, containing 36 purchases estimated at $1.3M ($.75M-$1.8M).

Kerry has also owned and traded stocks of many insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical companies while voting for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare.

Wellpoint CEO Angela Braly runs the “largest U.S. commercial health insurer by membership.” During congressional Obamacare deliberations, Braly publicly supported “guaranteed coverage for everyone.”

In 2009, Forbes reported that pharmaceutical companies were “expected to pour as much as $150 million into advertisements supporting the reform effort.” Because of changing regulations and business models, Pharma expected to benefit from ObamaCare.

The American Medical Association also supports ObamaCare, citing the need to “increase health insurance coverage substantially for the uninsured” and “implement long overdue reforms to the health insurance market.”

Kerry owned Wellpoint and UnitedHealth Group stock, but appears to have divested before ObamaCare was introduced. However, Teresa still owns over $1M in UnitedHealth Group stock, returning an estimated $75,000 (range between $35,000 and $115,000) annually in dividends and capital gains. She also owns Aflac and Metlife stock.

John Kerry owns about $122,000 in pharmaceutical and medical industry stocks ($26,000-$218,000). Teresa owns about $6.2M in these two industries ($4.4M-$8.1M), earning her about $1M in dividend and capital gains income ($0.3M-$1.6M).

While the New York Times piece on Congressman Issa may be rife with errors, its criteria remain valid. Kerry keeps none of his investments in blind trusts. He and wife Teresa own millions in stocks of companies standing to benefit from legislation Kerry voted for. While they can afford a multi-million dollar yacht, they only paid home-state taxes after exposés ran on their berthing the yacht in tax-free Rhode Island. They earned nearly $5M last year in tax-free income alone, separating them from the economic reality experienced by nearly all Americans.

Since the 12-member super committee is supposed to decide America’s financial future, data like Kerry’s highlight the continuing importance of representative government -- especially on the issue of taxation without representation -- upon which our founding principles exist.