Friday, December 19, 2008

Dynastic Politics & Joseph Kennedy's 29 Grandchildren

The daughter of JFK apparently has a good chance to soon join JFK’s brother in the U.S. Senate—despite her lack of legislative experience or lack of experience previously working at a U.S. government job. But if you’re a grandchild of Joseph P. Kennedy and a member of the Kennedy Dynasty, not much experience is apparently needed to start a U.S. political career at the top with one of New York State’s seats in the U.S. Senate.

According to the 1983 book by Harrison Rainie and John Quinn, Growing Up Kennedy, prior to his death in 1990, one of Caroline Kennedy’s uncles —Steve Smith—managed the family trusts and parceled out individual payments through the Park Agency to the 29 grandchildren of Joseph Kennedy. The Park Agency is “in effect a private family bank” which was managed by the late Steve Smith, according to the same book.

Growing Up Kennedy also noted that “there is a deliberate effort to obscure rather than reveal the extent and disposition of family funds” which are dished out to Kennedy Dynasty members, but indicated that Joseph Kennedy’s 29 grandchildren received their handouts according to the following procedure:

“Upon reaching 18, each grandchild begins receiving between $15,000 and $20,000 a year. The full inheritance income begins at age 21, when each grandchild collects up to $30,000 a year. Each cousin’s personal capital is said to be about $300,000. Some also share in their parents’ portions, and Caroline and [the now-deceased] John have separate income from earnings on their [now-deceased] mother’s $20-million share from the estate of Aristotle Onassis. A major advantage of the trust arrangement is that the Park Agency pays the taxes, so that each cousin gets spendable income, equivalent to a taxable salary of at least $50,000.”

The same book also revealed that several of Joseph Kennedy’s grandchildren “drive BMW sport cars” and all 29 of the grandchildren “take regular and spectacular vacations, which they arrange simply by calling a number at the Park Agency.”

One of Joseph Kennedy’s grandchildren, former Congressional Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II of Massachusetts, used $250,000 of his handout money to make a loan to his own congressional campaign fund when he ran for U.S. Congress in 1986, according to The Best Congress Money Can Buy by Philip Stern. Another grandchild of Joseph Kennedy, Maria Shriver [the wife of Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger] used to be seen reading the news on the Establishment’s television screen—although she didn’t often read us news about the latest developments at the Kennedy Dynasty’s Park Agency.

(Downtown 12/25/91)