Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

About Those Tax Returns

Theresa Heinz Kerry has been offering the peculiar argument that she need not disclose her tax returns because the financial affairs of her son, Chris Heinz, are intertwined with hers - and would be disclosed in her tax return forms. She now says that she is planning to make some trivial pseudo-disclosure, arguing that: "What I have and what I receive is not just mine, it is also my children's, and I don't know that I have the right to make public what is theirs," she said. "If I could separate it, I would have no problem."

In addition to the general policy arguments (such as those made in the linked Washington Post editorial) for not allowing candidates to use the financial privacy of their children as an excuse for withholding disclosure of tax returns, why should anyone take the financial privacy of Chris Heinz seriously anyway? Chris Heinz is politically active - indeed, he recently reestablished residence at the family estate in the Pittsburgh area, supposedly for the benefit of the Kerry campaign. He's been a guest of honor at Democratic labor events in Pennsylvania. He is widely believed to be preparing to walk in the footsteps of his late father, Senator John Heinz. And Chris Heinz is a candidate of the type Democrats have been stocking up on in recent years in their supposed quest to represent the ordinary citizen: campaign financing copiously included. Just ask populists like Senator John Corzine.

Chris Heinz is a big boy who has deliberately intertwined his life and political affairs with those of John Kerry and the Democratic Party (see Skiing With a Kerry Surrogate, for example). No one should take seriously his mother's argument that she can't make obviously appropriate tax disclosure because Chris Heinz needs to maintain his financial privacy. Of course, that Chris Heinz is allowing his mother and John Kerry to abuse his financial privacy for his stepfather's political gain does not speak well of Mr. Heinz's own political judgment or prospects.

It's now or in October, Senator. Now or in October.

MORE: The Viking is on a raiding party for the Heinz tax returns! Lots of good thoughts there - and follow the links to his earlier posts and sources.

STILL MORE: And on the subject of Theresa Heinz Kerry's political judgment, this succulent, vintage Newsweek morsel is well worth the calories:

A student at a small gathering of college Democrats in Lacey, Wash., asked Teresa Heinz Kerry why her husband had waited so long in the Senate (almost two decades) before deciding to run for president. The candidate's wife suddenly recalled something her mother had told her: that the Devil was powerful not because "he's so smart--he's so smart because he's so old." John Kerry as the Devil?

Teresa Heinz Kerry, who Newsweek calls a demanding, somewhat unpredictable 65-year-old demi-billionaire is living proof that sometimes people don't get any smarter when they get older ... and that demanding people aren't always demanding of themselves, especially if they're very, very rich by inheritance.


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