- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 25, 2004

The ketchup money can’t be tapped, but Sen. John Kerry’s personal wealth owes something to the extensive holdings of his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, an heir to millions after the 1991 death of her first husband.

Mr. Kerry, the front-runner for tomorrow’s Democratic primary in New Hampshire, in December lent his campaign $850,000 from his own considerable fortune. Most recently, he injected about $6 million from a mortgage of his share of his home.

Forbes magazine estimates the couple’s wealth at $550 million, which includes Mrs. Kerry’s inheritance from her late husband, Sen. H. John Heinz III of Pennsylvania, who was part of the Heinz food-product empire.

The figure makes Mr. Kerry the wealthiest member of Congress, although campaign-finance law makes his wife’s inheritance off-limits.

The couple’s holdings include major investments in Heinz interests, including several bond funds and family trusts, according to financial-disclosure forms filed last year.

Mr. Kerry, who worked as a lawyer before entering Congress, has insisted that the bulk of the family fortune belongs to his wife. The disclosure form lists investments and holdings worth between $400,000 and $1.8 million.

Stock holdings include steady, long-term performers, including Microsoft, Wal-Mart and Walt Disney. It also notes “one painting held as investment” worth between $250,000 and $500,000, as well as ownership interest of the same amount in Thyme Square restaurant, although its location is not noted.

The Kerrys’ home, in Boston’s upscale Beacon Hill neighborhood, was purchased jointly by the couple about the same time they married in 1995. The value is estimated at between $10 million and $12 million.

Under federal election law, Mrs. Kerry cannot contribute more than $2,000 to her husband’s campaign.

Records show that Andre Heinz, Mrs. Kerry’s son, contributed $2,000 to the campaign in March. There is no record of money coming from Mrs. Kerry.

Bolstered by the Iowa caucus victory, the Kerry campaign set a goal of raising $1 million before tomorrow’s New Hampshire primary. As of Friday, a little more than $800,000 had been tallied.

Mr. Kerry announced in November that he would not seek matching funds, shortly after fellow candidate former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean said he would eschew such financing.

There is a risk in self-funding, said Sheila Krumholz, research director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a D.C.-based group that tracks campaign finance.

“They have to be certain that the money they are using is their own,” she said. “And there are areas that would come back to haunt them, such as conflicts of interest. But I do not recall any scandals about candidates who have done this before.”

Mr. Kerry and Mr. Dean, both of whom have earned respectable ratings in national polls, are following a recent tradition that has been the domain of long shots: Republican Steve Forbes and Reform Party candidate Ross Perot funded their own candidacies in the 1990s.


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