Senator Kerry: do as I say, not as I do

Of course we all know by now that Senator John Kerry (D. Ma.) moored his new gabillion dollar yacht (built in New Zealand) in Rhode Island so that he wouldn’t have to pay sales and use taxes of over $500,000 to the state of Massachusetts.  But, here is what you may not remember.

While running for president in 2004, Kerry frequently used the term “Benedict Arnold’’ to describe CEOs who move their companies’ operations out of the country to avoid paying US taxes…[And] as a senator, Kerry has admirably attacked those who seek out tax havens. In 2007 and 2008, he introduced legislation aimed at American defense contractors and hedge fund managers operating overseas to avoid the US tax code.

After doing the tea berry shuffle for a few days, Senator Kerry finally told us that this was all a giant “misunderstanding”, and, he always intended to pay the taxes to Massachusetts.  And, by now, after all of the public scrutiny, he has told us he has paid those taxes.

Two things strike me about this.  Over the past 18 months we have learned that several prominent politicians (See: Timothy Geithner, Charlie Rangel, and Tom Daschle, among others) seem to have difficulty actually paying their taxes, while, at the same time, demanding that the rest of us “step up to the plate and pay our fair share”.

And, second, those same folks seem to think that they don’t have to pay taxes unless, or until, they are caught.


Posted in


The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Dimsdale on August 5, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Lurch has a history of "do as I say, not as I do" issues, which are nearly comparable to his "do you know who I am?" moments.  I remember when he had a fire hydrant moved from in front of his, I mean, Teresa's townhouse in the Back Bay so he could park in front of the house.  Just like any regular person could do.


    Another telling characteristic of prominent Democrats is that they never give to charities until it is time for an election.  Øbama, Gore, Clinton and the rest.  It is pretty bad when even the NYTimes finds this practice sort of smarmy ( or, since chris-os favors the Huffington Post for some reason:… Kerry fits the mold:


    In 1995, according to published reports, Kerry reported a taxable income of $126,179, and charitable contributions of $0. In 1994, he reported income of $127,884, and charitable donations of $2,039. In 1993, he reported income of $130,345, and contributions of $175. In 1992, he reported income of $127,646, and contributions of $820. In 1991, he reported income of $113,857, and contributions of $0.


    Don't pay taxes they write, don't give to charities unless they have to, and perform imperious exercises of power they shouldn't have.


    Sounds like a selfish, elitist, hypocritical person to me.   Or a politician.

  2. Tim-in-Alabama on August 5, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Can I get out of here, please?

    • OkieJim on August 5, 2010 at 11:57 am

      Don't you know who I am?

  3. BEA on August 5, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    "Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking.  There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught."  ~J.C. Watts

  4. BEA on August 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Oh, yeah…and way to try and rip off the United States Mr. Kerry!!! Not only do you try and skip out on  paying Mass your sales and use taxes, but you don't even support your local yatch builders by spending your gabillion here in the United States…

    "Florida leads the way in US yacht builders, with 25 manufacturers, followed by Washington state with 19 and California with 8 major yacht builders."

    "Today, many yacht manufactures are located in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Australia, Asia and the United States."

  5. winnie888 on August 6, 2010 at 12:32 am

    There is so much wrong with Kerry, one does not even know where to begin.

    Yet another slimy dem that thinks he can get away without paying taxes to the state he represents.  Those who do this kinda stuff ARE elitist, not just with their possessions and finances, but they are also intellectually elitist in that they believe that "common folk" are too stupid to catch them doing wrong.  Yep, Kerry is a man of the people for sure.

  6. NH-Jim on August 6, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Time for "Scott Brown" – Round 2.

  7. Dimsdale on August 6, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Mike Dukakis used to call these sorts of issues "oversights".


The website's content and articles were migrated to a new framework in October 2023. You may see [shortcodes in brackets] that do not make any sense. Please ignore that stuff. We may fix it at some point, but we do not have the time now.

You'll also note comments migrated over may have misplaced question marks and missing spaces. All comments were migrated, but trackbacks may not show.

The site is not broken.