Kerry's Bigger Tax Dodge

In a puff piece offered by the Boston Globe Friday to help repair his image, Senator John Kerry made a confession bigger than his Rhode Island tax dodge of a half a million dollars.

When questioned about his family’s vast wealth — largely as a result of his wife’s inheritance after her first husband died in a 1991 plane crash — he was unapologetic.

Okay - nothing to be embarrassed about there. The Kerry's are rich, living off the money that Teresa inherited from her first husband, Senator John Heinz - a number said to be about $455 million. Well, then, maybe a little embarrassed?

“Look, we don’t feel like we have anything, either of us, to apologize for, to people,’’ Kerry said. “Because you know, the happenstance of death and accident and tragedy leaves my wife with a certain amount of money. . . . She doesn’t have to apologize for wanting to have good moments on a sailboat with her family.’’

Consider the two storylines that are being offered up as one. The boat is a Kerry family toy, purchased to add some fun for Teresa after a difficult year, and the boat is a business enterprise owned by the Kerrys. Can it legitimately be both?

While the boat is controlled by a corporation set up through his wife, he said he was not trying to argue that she bore responsibility, acknowledging it is a “family boat.’’ Nonetheless, he stressed her philanthropic work, and noted that she has spent the last year fighting cancer.

The "company" will occasionally rent the boat out for charters, we're told. Making the huge purchase price and operating costs, presumably, a business expense, not a personal expense.

“She’s been through the wringer,’’ Kerry said. “So I think she deserves, you know, peace and quiet, tranquility, and enjoyment of something she wanted to spend some money on. Period.’’

Will the Kerry's company, losing a fortune in the phony business enterprise of renting out the boat to whatever riff raff might be willing to pony up an estimated $70K per week, pay lower taxes because it owns the boat?

The boat was built in New Zealand, and transferred earlier this year to Florida. It sailed to Rhode Island in May, and Kerry and his wife first sailed it during Memorial Day weekend. The 76-foot yacht is named Isabel, using the middle name of Kerry’s mother and the name Teresa had chosen had she had a girl instead of three boys.

In other words, will the Kerrys be paid by the American people to take the business risk of "investing" in the New Zealand "sailboat" when they've already admitted that it's a vessel purchased for personal use?

He said he has since sailed it a handful of times, to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, to test out certain components that are being repaired. He said ultimately the boat will probably be kept in Falmouth, but would go back to Rhode Island if repairs are needed.

This tax dodging scam is a bigger scandal than the Rhode Island tax dodge. It's also bigger than the fact that Kerry is so disinterested in the well being of his country that he couldn't find it in his heart to buy himself a domestically built boat. $7 million would have been a nice infusion of cash into the economy of some small New England town.