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Old 08-03-2004, 09:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Richest Presidents article

I wish Forbes had gone deeper and talked more about the presidents and their wealth, but this is a very good article and thought I'd share it.
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LINK: http://www.forbes.com/business/2004/...rtner=netscape
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Kerry Would Be Third-Richest U.S. President
Dan Ackman, 02.13.04, 7:00 AM ET

NEW YORK - Whatever schoolboy lore says about Abe Lincoln's log cabin or Lyndon Johnson's "Aw shucks" Texas upraising, many, if not most, U.S. presidents were born well-to-do, and nearly all were quite well off by the time they sought the nation's highest office.

A few presidents were spectacularly wealthy, such as the nation's first president, George Washington, who we reckon would have made the Forbes 400 of his day on the strength of his Virginia plantation and his wife's fortune. Others, like Lyndon Johnson and Andrew Jackson, used government service as a springboard to personal fortune.



If the Democratic primaries play out as expected, this year the race for the White House will pit Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts against George W. Bush. President Bush, the second son of a president to attain the office, made our list of the richest presidents partly based on his claim to a family fortune, but mostly because of a windfall on his investment in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise.

The Richest U.S. Presidents
It is difficult to compare personal wealth across historical periods, but below is our best estimate of the relative net worths of the richest five U.S. presidents. The rankings are based on our own calculations and extensive interviews with presidential historians.

Rank Name Party Term
1. George Washington None* 1789-1797
2. John F. Kennedy Democrat 1961-1963
John F. Kerry** Democrat NA
3. Andrew Jackson Democrat 1829-1837
4. Lyndon B. Johnson Democrat 1963-1969
5. Herbert Hoover Republican 1929-1933
*President Washington was generally aligned with Federalist doctrine, though he was not formally a member of the Federalist Party or any political party. ** Candidate. NA: not applicable.
Sen. Kerry, like the last JFK from Massachusetts to serve as commander in chief, is also extremely wealthy. We estimate his family fortune at $525 million, which would make him, if elected, the third-richest president ever. But the key word is "family." The Kerry money comes from his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, who inherited it from her late husband, Sen. John Heinz III of the Heinz food family.

This puts Kerry in a situation somewhat similar to President Kennedy's. President Kennedy's father, Joseph, and his mother, Rose, were both still alive when JFK was in office and when he was assassinated, so John never inherited even a share of the Kennedy family fortune, which we estimated to be worth $850 million at its height in 1990.

But Joseph Kennedy was, under campaign finance laws at the time, free to spend basically as he wished on his son's electioneering efforts, which he certainly did.

Here John Kennedy and candidate Kerry part company. Current federal law prohibits wife Teresa from donating more than $2,000 to her husband's campaign. Indeed, in December, when Howard Dean was riding high, Kerry mortgaged his share of his family townhouse on Boston's Beacon Hill to raise money for his campaign.

In the course of his career, Kerry's campaigns have received substantial funding from employees and affiliates of such companies as Fleet,--which was acquired by Bank of America (nyse: BAC - news - people )--Time Warner (nyse: TWX - news - people ), Citigroup (nyse: C - news - people ) and Goldman Sachs (nyse: GS - news - people ), according to the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C.-based investigative group. Corporate lawyer firms like Boston-based Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo and New York-based Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom have also been big backers.

While there are limits on what Teresa Heinz Kerry might contribute to her husband's campaign, she may, depending on how current law is construed, be able to spend as much of her own money as she wishes on "issue ads"--advertisements that advance a cause or theme. She might also contribute unlimited sums to other groups running their own issue ads.

Of course, if Sen. Kerry's campaign were to benefit from spousal spending, there would inevitably be allegations that he was exploiting a loophole. Others would say that the candidate was simply countering the incumbent president's huge lead in fundraising.

Either way, this was the kind of issue that the widow Martha Dandridge Custis, who married the legendarily forthright Washington--cherry tree and all that--never had to worry about.
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I do believe that wives should be able to give whatever they want since they are spouses and legally everything is 50/50 anyway.
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I just love people who use the excuse "I use/do this because I LOVE the feeling/joy/happiness it brings me" and expect you to be ok with that as you watch them destroy their life blindly following. My response is, "I like to put forks in an eletrical socket, just LOVE that feeling, can't ever get enough of it, so will you let me put this copper fork in that electric socket?"
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Old 08-03-2004, 09:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Because they are married under the law they share the same monetary base.

Her money is his money, this would be exploiting a loophole.
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Old 08-03-2004, 10:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Seaver
Because they are married under the law they share the same monetary base.

Her money is his money, this would be exploiting a loophole.
I'm lost, mainly because I really haven't paid attention to camp. finance laws.

But I thought a candidate could spend whatever he wanted of his own money? If that's the case since they share the same monetary base legally why couldn't he use it and why would that be exploiting loopholes since it is both of their money?

I'm not trying to flame I'm just seriously wondering.
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I just love people who use the excuse "I use/do this because I LOVE the feeling/joy/happiness it brings me" and expect you to be ok with that as you watch them destroy their life blindly following. My response is, "I like to put forks in an eletrical socket, just LOVE that feeling, can't ever get enough of it, so will you let me put this copper fork in that electric socket?"
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Old 08-03-2004, 11:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I am also confused as to why he can't spend the money. Could someone that knows something about campaign finance law clear this up?
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Old 08-04-2004, 03:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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This isn't a complete answer, but it's a start:
Time Magazine, August 2, 2004, p27-28
Quote:
His wife may be heir to the Heinz-family fortune, but campaign-finance laws prevent her giving to his campaign more than a $2,000 donation. By law, Kerry could only lend himself only his, rather small, share of their joint assets.
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Old 08-04-2004, 04:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm sorry, but that is ridiculous. I feel if a family wants to put everything thing own into running for office they should be allowed, especially when the other side can raise record amounts. It's a candidates future and he and his family should be able to invest all they want into it.

Every other job in the US people can invest as much as they want into their future (college, grad school, moves to other parts of the country with better employment, etc) the leader of this country should not be any different.

It's like if Bill Gates wanted to run and spend every penny he had into getting elected (which I would then suggest he needed great amounts of pschiatric help) then he should be able to.

I also don't believe by doing this a family will ever buy themselves into the WH.

Now I do agree Corporations and private citizens should be limited. I also believe that allowing people to go to more than 1 huge money fundraiser should be illegal.
__________________
I just love people who use the excuse "I use/do this because I LOVE the feeling/joy/happiness it brings me" and expect you to be ok with that as you watch them destroy their life blindly following. My response is, "I like to put forks in an eletrical socket, just LOVE that feeling, can't ever get enough of it, so will you let me put this copper fork in that electric socket?"
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Old 08-04-2004, 12:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ineteresting... I don't want run this off topic, but why should a person be able to spend even all of their own money? I realize that this is America and freedom and what not, but there should be restrictions on how much of even their own money the canidates can spend. Otherwise what we get are people like Bush (or insert any other old-money wealthy president here) that are only in office becuase they have the money to spend on advertisements and buying off the competition.

People should not be able to BUY the presidency. We institute campaign finance laws becuase we don't want big corporations to own the presidency, but we don't care that the presidents themselves are merely buying their way in.

I think that there should be a national pot that people contribute money to and each (viable) canidate gets a share of that money. When it comes time to decide who is elected, we use.... AN ELECTION to decide, not who spent the most money on advertisements
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Old 08-04-2004, 02:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fred181
Ineteresting... I don't want run this off topic, but why should a person be able to spend even all of their own money? I realize that this is America and freedom and what not, but there should be restrictions on how much of even their own money the canidates can spend. Otherwise what we get are people like Bush (or insert any other old-money wealthy president here) that are only in office becuase they have the money to spend on advertisements and buying off the competition.

People should not be able to BUY the presidency. We institute campaign finance laws becuase we don't want big corporations to own the presidency, but we don't care that the presidents themselves are merely buying their way in.

I think that there should be a national pot that people contribute money to and each (viable) canidate gets a share of that money. When it comes time to decide who is elected, we use.... AN ELECTION to decide, not who spent the most money on advertisements

I just believe the people are smart enough to elect a person based on issues, policy or just their like or dislike.

I also think only an idiot would spend his fortune to get elected president and if he needlesly threw money around people would wonder what he would do with the treasury's tax money. So while he could spend all his money he should show where it went and it should be regulated to some degree. (Ex. you can spend this much of your money on advertising, this much on travel and so on.)

I also think that part of Network TV's responsibilty is to give federal candidates and gubenatorial candidates (Reps, Senators, Pres.) free and equal airtime. So say Kerry gets 3 30 second ads on each network between 8-830 Bush would get 3- 30 second commercials between 8:30 and 9 and so on.

Newspapers and Mags should give each candidate exactly the same advertising space either run side by side or on alternating days.

That won't work because the media makes so much on political ads it's pathetic. But I do believe that is a way to control spending and campaign finances.
__________________
I just love people who use the excuse "I use/do this because I LOVE the feeling/joy/happiness it brings me" and expect you to be ok with that as you watch them destroy their life blindly following. My response is, "I like to put forks in an eletrical socket, just LOVE that feeling, can't ever get enough of it, so will you let me put this copper fork in that electric socket?"
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Old 08-04-2004, 03:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I can't comment on campaign finance laws but I question the movitation for this article. Forbes is mostly conservative and conservatives have spent a lot of time talking about how much money JK has.
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