The Associated Press reports that “John Kerry intervened in the Senate to keep open a loophole that had allowed a major insurer to divert millions of federal dollars from the nation’s most expensive construction project, then received tens of thousand of dollars in donations from the company during the next two years, documents show.” The documents in question detail Kerry’s efforts as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee to persuade committee chairman John McCain to drop legislation that would have stripped $150 million from the “Big Dig” project and ended the insurance funding loopholde. This occurred in the first half of 2000.
Subsequently, in 2001 and 2002, Kerry received donations from the insurance company that had diverted funds from the “Big Dig” project, American International Group (AIG). According to the Associated Press story, AIG “paid Kerry’s way on a trip to Vermont and donated at least $30,000 to a tax-exempt group Kerry used to set up his presidential campaign. Company executives also donated $18,000 to his Senate and presidential campaigns.”
Here, from the same AP story, is a fuller account of the “Big Dig” project and Kerry’s involvement over the years:
“The Big Dig project has become a symbol of government contracting gone awry, known for its huge cost overruns that now total several billion dollars, and its admissions of mismanagement. During the 1990s, Sens. Kerry and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., helped win new federal funding for the project as its costs skyrocketed and threatened to burden the state’s government. In 1998, Kerry was credited with winning $100 million in new federal funding.
“But in 1999, Transportation Department auditors discovered that Big Dig managers had overpaid $129.8 million to AIG for worker compensation and liability insurance that wasn’t needed, then allowed the insurer to keep the money in a trust and invest it in the market. The government alleged AIG kept about half of the profits it made from the investments, providing the other half to the project.
“Outraged by the revelations, McCain submitted legislation that would have stripped $150 million from the Big Dig and banned the practice of allowing an insurer to invest and profit from excessive premiums paid with government money. ‘Any refunds of insurance premiums or reserve amounts, including interest, that exceed a project’s liabilities shall be immediately returned to the federal government,’ McCain’s legislation said.
“But Kerry and Kennedy intervened, and McCain withdrew the legislation in 2000 in favor of the hearing. At that hearing, the Transportation’s Department inspector general made a renewed plea for a permanent federal policy banning the overpayment of insurance premiums and subsequent investment for profit –what McCain had proposed and Kerry helped kill.
Will we be hearing about this from Kerry’s Democratic rivals?
- Subscribe now!... Get rid of ADs!Support Power Line...VIP MembershipPresentsPower Line
Most Read on Power Line
Subscribe to Power Line by Email
Find us on Facebook
“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell