Defending Teresa Heinz Kerry

by on April 27th, 2004

In response to a previous post by Mike Pechar about Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, I am compelled to post this rebuttal.

Mr. Pechar makes what I believe are a series of illogical leaps and also fails to understand how a 501(c)(3) financial administrator operates before asserting that Mrs. Kerry is somehow helping to fund “communist and socialist front organizations.”

Mr. Pechar makes two fallacious claims in his post. First he says that Adbusters, an admittedly radical leftist institution, is funded by the Tides Foundation. Second, he says that Adbusters describes itself as a communist organization.

Mr. Pechar’s confusion on the first point is understandable for someone unfamiliar with how non-profit organizations operate. On the Adbuster’s web site there is a section that requests donations to the group be sent to the Tides Foundation:

“Please make your check out to: Tides Foundation/Adbusters Media Foundation, and send it to us at the 7th Avenue address listed below. (San Francisco-based Tides Foundation is our 501(c)(3) financial administrator in the U.S. — they’ll send you a letter for tax purposes.)”

But this does not mean that the Tides Foundation is funding Adbusters. To the contrary, Adbusters is using Tides Foundation as its 501(c)(3) financial administrator to handle its funds. Whenever someone or some organization wishes to direct a large sum of money towards a charitable and tax-free purpose there are a lot of legal hoops that they must jump through. The very wealthy will simply set up their own foundations to handle all the red tape and administer the funds, but for those who aren’t quite that wealthy there are groups like Tides Foundation which will accept the monies and distribute them according to the donor’s wishes within the bounds of the law.

So the fact that Mrs. Kerry is using Tides Foundation for that same purpose does not mean that she is funding Adbusters or even that she is funding Tides Foundation. Tides is simply administering her funds according to her wishes the same as they are doing for Adbusters.

The Tides Foundation has even went so far as to issue the following statement to try and dispel this confusion which has been perpetuating itself on the Internet via right-wing bloggers and other components of the VRWC.

“Tides Foundation and Tides Center have come under attack in several opinion pieces recently appearing in media such as the The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times, among others. The articles make false allegations relating specifically to Tides and the funding it receives from The Heinz Endowments, as well as Tides’ support of a group called “September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.” The allegations are without merit, consisting entirely of errors and innuendo.

Here are the facts: The Heinz Endowments have granted Tides Foundation $230,000 dispensed between 1994 and 1998. These grants were used solely to support a pollution prevention initiative and other environmentally friendly practices by industries in Western Pennsylvania. Tides Center, an independent organization providing administrative and financial services to hundreds of projects across the country, has received additional support from The Heinz Endowments specifically to support projects in Pennsylvania. The vast majority of the projects funded through these endowments were related to either environmental protection or youth education. No Heinz- related money has gone to fund September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of Senator John Kerry, chairs The Howard Heinz Endowment and sits on Vira I. Heinz Endowment’s board…”

On the second point, I can find no where on the link referenced by Mr. Pechar where Adbusters “describes itself as a communist organization.” To the contrary, I find that it is Mr. Pechar himself who slaps the communist label on the group because he doesn’t like what they supposedly stand for.

I’m sorry, but that is not quite the same thing. I don’t like much of what the National Review and the Weekly Standard stand for, but that doesn’t mean I can get away with calling them pro-Nazi fascist publications.

So here we have some incredible leaps of illogic in an attempt to smear Sen. Kerry’s wife. Mr. Pechar doesn’t like Adbusters so he labels them as “communists.” Then he infers that because they use the same 501(c)(3) financial administrator as Mrs. Kerry that she therefore is giving millions to communist front organizations.

No, she is not.

Mike Thomas