Mitt Romney not alone after all? In 2004 Democrats nominated wealthy John Forbes Kerry for President and he also had a tax issue

January 23, 2012

Government/Politics

Is Mitt Romney’s tax situation all that bad? Some Democrats and Republicans might not think so when they remember John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.
 
 
 
 
By: Dilemma X
 
Just 8 years ago Massachusetts US Senator John Forbes Kerry won the right to represent the Democrats as their presidential nominee against President George W. Bush.
 
Today, Mitt Romney may be sharing more than just political flip flopping in common with John Kerry and it is not because they both come from Massachusetts. It is a topic many Democrats and Republicans have quickly forgotten about, taxes.
 
As some Democrats today come down hard on Mitt Romney’s taxes situation, they seem to have overlooked or forgotten about the John Forbes Kerry 2004 presidential campaign.
 
For those who do not remember or forgot that John Forbes Kerry is the child of Richard Kerry, a Foreign Service Officer and an attorney for the Bureau of United Nations Affairs, and Rosemary Forbes Kerry, a member of the wealthy Forbes family (Rosemary Isabel Forbes Kerry was one of James Grant Forbes’ children).
 
Then of course everyone remembers that John Kerry is and was married to Teresa Simões-Ferreira Heinz.
 
John F. Kerry today is currently listed as one of the top 4 wealthiest U.S. Senators and when he was nominated the Democrats’ presidential candidate in 2004 he was wealthy then too.
 
Staying focused on the 2004 John Kerry presidential campaign, Kerry and his wife released portions of their separate tax returns that showed the couple paid an effective federal tax rate of only about 13 percent in 2003.
 
At that time President George W. Bush and Laura Bush paid about 28 percent of their income in taxes in 2003, though their yearly income was a tenth of the Kerrys’ that same year.
 
So, maybe Democrats and Republicans will not be so harsh on Mitt Romney once they see his tax returns this week. He’s not even the Republican presidential nominee as of yet. But, John Kerry in fact was the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2004.
 
Here is a little history of the events of 2004:
___________________________________________________________________
 
Kerry’s Wife Won’t Release Tax Returns
 
Published: April 17, 2004
 
The New York Times
 
Teresa Heinz Kerry, heir to a $500 million ketchup fortune and would-be first lady, has refused to make public her tax returns.
 
Mrs. Heinz Kerry was married to Senator John Heinz, who died in a plane crash in 1991. She married John Kerry in 1995 and files separate tax returns from Mr. Kerry, the Massachusetts senator who is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
 
The law allows Mrs. Heinz Kerry to keep her tax returns private, but her decision to do so breaks with tradition and may become a political liability for her husband.
 
When asked why Mrs. Heinz Kerry would not release her returns, Jeff Lewis, her chief of staff, said she was not herself a candidate for public office.
 
Senator Kerry amended his 2003 tax return on Friday to increase his payment by $11,577 because he calculated the wrong capital gains rate on the sale of a painting. His new return shows he paid $102,152 in federal taxes on $347,000 in taxable 2003 income.
 
 
_______________________________________________
 
Kerry’s Wife Releases Some Financial Data and Promises More
 
Published: May 12, 2004
 
By DAVID E. ROSENBAUM
The New York Times
 
……Mrs. Heinz Kerry, the heir to the Heinz food fortune and one of the wealthiest people in the United States, has faced criticism since Mr. Kerry became the likely Democratic presidential candidate because she has refused to release her tax returns.
 
She maintained that she could not release her tax forms without violating the privacy of her three children from her marriage to Senator H. John Heinz III, Republican of Pennsylvania, who was killed in a plane crash in 1991. Most of her assets are in trust funds that she shares with her children.
 
….The first two pages show the amount of income, deductions and taxes but do not provide the details of how those sums were reached. …
 
Normally, the question of spouses’ taxes does not arise because they file jointly, but Mrs. Heinz Kerry files a tax return separate from her husband’s.
 
…..Her net worth has been estimated at more than $500 million. If Mr. Kerry is elected, the Kerrys will almost certainly be the wealthiest people ever to live in the White House. …..
 
….The statement did not explain why Mrs. Heinz Kerry’s income was only about 1 percent of her net worth. Some of the assets, like her five houses, do not produce income. …
 
 
______________________________________________________
 
Kerry’s Wife Releases Part of Her 2003 Income Tax Return
 
Published October 16, 2004
By DAVID CAY JOHNSTON and ERIC LIPTON
The New York Times
 
WASHINGTON- Teresa Heinz Kerry reported income of just over $5 million last year, slightly more than half of it from investments in tax-exempt municipal and state bonds, her 2003 income tax return shows, confirming her status as the wealthiest spouse of any major party nominee in United States history.
Ms. Heinz Kerry on Friday released a small part of her 2003 income tax return, unlike her husband, Senator John Kerry, and President Bush and his wife, Laura, who have made their full tax returns available for public inspection. The Kerrys file separate tax returns, a common arrangement when one spouse is wealthy.
The two-page document, posted at johnkerry.com, showed total income of $5,073,554 last year. Her primary source of income was the tax-exempt bonds, investments that generally produce a lower interest rate, but those in the highest tax brackets can often pocket more cash if they choose municipals.
Ms. Heinz Kerry paid a federal tax of $628,401, which is 12.3 percent of her total income and 27.4 percent of her adjusted gross income.
She was a big beneficiary of the reductions in tax rates on dividends and capital gains that have been enacted under President Bush. She collected more than $2.2 million in dividends, all of which qualified for the new 15 percent tax rate, saving her $440,000, compared with the 35 percent rate that previously applied to dividends for those with million dollar-plus incomes.
Mr. Kerry, during the campaign, has proposed raising income taxes and dividends taxes on Americans who make over $200,000 back to the levels that they were before 2001, changes that would have an effect on his wife.
Nothing about the trusts that benefit Ms. Heinz Kerry herself and her three sons was disclosed. These trusts, set up after the 1991 death in an airplane crash of her first husband, Senator John Heinz, the heir to the H. J. Heinz Company fortune, are believed to be worth about a billion dollars.
On the return, which was prepared by a Pittsburgh accounting firm, Ms. Heinz Kerry listed her name as “Teresa Heinz” and her occupation as philanthropist. She serves as chief executive officer of the Heinz Family Foundation, which made more than $4.6 million in charitable contributions last year, the Kerry campaign said.
Ms. Heinz Kerry and her husband own a home in Massachusetts, which Mr. Kerry represents, and she also owns homes in Idaho, Washington and Pennsylvania, where her late husband lived. Her official place of residence was blacked out in federal tax return, but a spokesman for the Kerry campaign said it was in Pennsylvania.
One line in the Form 1040 that was released indicated she had a job for which $2,230 in taxes were withheld from her paycheck, but gave no details. A spokesman for the Kerry campaign said this income was related to an investment she had with a limited liability corporation, although he would not provide any more information.
Tax documents that would indicate if Ms. Heinz Kerry has offshore accounts were withheld, as were the schedules detailing her charitable deductions, interest expenses and the nature of the $14,412 in capital gains she reported. But Paul Bschorr, a lawyer for Ms. Heinz Kerry, said Friday that none of her personal investment accounts or accounts controlled by her family trust are deposited outside the United States, a step some wealthy American use to defer or escape taxes.
No information was provided about how much income was earned by trusts of which she is the beneficiary. If the trusts are as large as reported – and the Kerry campaign has not challenged the billion dollar estimate – then even a modest 5 percent return would have generated $50 million of income, 10 times what was on the two pages released by Ms. Heinz Kerry. A statement released by the Kerry campaign noted that income taxes are paid directly by the Heinz family trust, in addition to taxes that Ms. Heinz Kerry pays.
Ms. Heinz Kerry released her tax return this week because she had requested an tax-filing extension last spring.
 

Video: In 2004 Mitt Romney standing with President George W. Bush called John Kerry a flip flopper

About Dilemma X

Dilemma X, LLC provides research dedicated to the progression of economic development. Our services aid clients in enhancing overall production statistics. Please visit http://www.dilemma-x.com for more information

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