Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Kennedy

Yeah, I know, that headline ain’t exactly man-bites-dog.  Peter Schweizer’s previous book, Do As I Say: Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, explained in detail how the Kennedy family escaped the estate tax that it wants everyone else to pay, and collects handsomely on oil leases it owns, even as Kennedys oppose oil exploration generally.  Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is notorious for leading the opposition to the Cape Wind project off Cape Cod in Massachusetts because it would supposedly spoil the view from the Kennedy Asylum, when he’s not flying in private jets to warmer winter climes.

By why should he have all the fun?  Now it’s his sister’s turn.  The New York Post’s Annie Karni breaks a big story today that the mainstream news outlets will surely ignore that Kerry Kennedy, RFK Jr.s’ little sister and the ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, has accepted fees and a piece of the action from trial lawyers trying to pick the pocket of Chevron in the infamous Ecuador case where an Ecuadoran court issued a judgment of $18 billion against Chevron:

Professional do-gooder Kerry Kennedy — Gov. Cuomo’s ex-wife and the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy — has called the oil-drilled rain forests of Ecuador “the biggest corporate environmental disaster on the face of the Earth, in the history of the world.”

The human-rights activist penned opinion pieces and lobbied officials to voice her outrage at the damage oil companies have caused to the town of Lago Agrio, where 1,700 square miles of rain forest have been destroyed and people sickened.

What Kennedy has never mentioned during her campaign is that she is being paid handsomely for her seemingly selfless advocacy.

Kennedy, 52, was secretly hired as a “public-relations consultant” by the lawyer representing the Ecuadoreans in an $18 billion lawsuit against Chevron, according to court documents.

Cashing in on her respected family name and legacy, Kennedy raked in tens of thousands of dollars and was given a 0.25 percent stake — worth as much as $40 million — if the $18 billion judgment handed down by an Ecuadorean judge is ultimately upheld. (Chevron has not yet paid pending its countersuit in Manhattan federal court.)

Kennedy was paid a flat $50,000 by lead attorney Steven Donziger on Feb. 22, 2010, bank statements made public in the case show.

She was set to pull down an additional $10,000 per month, according to a September 2010 draft budget by the law firm. And she was to get another $40,000 in expenses in June 2010, according to an invoice from Donziger.

But being a hired shill didn’t stop Kennedy from presenting herself as a crusader with only a personal interest and familial duty to Ecuador’s indigenous masses.

There’s more (including excerpts from the plaintiff lawyer’s emails pertaining to Kennedy), but this is enough.  (And yes, I know there appears to be an obvious error in the reporter’s story–the phrase about “her respected family name and legacy. . .”  I suspect Karni is being playfully ironic here.)

(Hat tip: RS.)

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