The wife of the Democratic candidate for president of the United States, John Kerry, appears to be giving money to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization I have for two years characterized as standing "on the wrong side in the war on terrorism." Here's the connection:
The Capital Research Center, an agency that tracks non-profits and charities, indicates that the Howard Heinz Endowment (which Teresa F. Heinz chairs) gave some $4 million to the Tides Center during the period 1998-2001, or about $1 million a year. In addition, the Vira I. Heinz Endowment (where Teresa sits on the board) gave $75,000 to the Tides Foundation in 1998. (The Capital Research Center has done a useful analysis of just what the Tides Foundation is.)
Heinz Endowment funds going to Tides have come under intense media scrutiny of late, prompting Tides to post a press release on the topic on March 11, 2004; but CAIR has not been part of the discussion until now, except for an analysis by Ben Johnson of FrontPageMag.com.
The Tides Center and the Tides Foundation both make up part of what are called the "Tides Family of Organizations" (leave it to the far left to use the word family in this way), as is Groundspring.org.
CAIR is among the organizations Tides has announced it is "privileged" to support.
So here is the unfortunate linkage: John Kerry—Teresa Heinz—Heinz Endowments—Tides Family of Organizations—CAIR. (March 17, 2004)
March 18, 2004 update: David Simon points out at LittleGreenFootballs.com that the Tides Foundation's tax Form 990 for 2002 shows a donation of $5,000 to CAIR. A little Internet searching confirms this; Guidestar ("the national database of non-profit organizations") posts the Tides Foundations's IRS form; the contribution to CAIR appears on p. 11 of Statement 3.
June 11, 2004 update: It's a somewhat different topic, but still worth mentioning here. Teresa Heinz this evening joined Hussein Ibish and his colleagues at the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee's national convention. A report on her talk to ADC quotes her saying that her husband "will be committed to a strong America, where our nation's laws are enforced without resorting to discrimination. He has always supported strong hate crime laws, and he believes that the practice of racial profiling should be prohibited."
July 29, 2004 update: In an undated statement, Heinz Endowments President Maxwell King has denied that money from his foundations to Tides has funded "partisan causes and fringe political groups" (presumably a description that includes CAIR). King states that "every penny of Heinz's support to Tides has been explicitly directed to specific projects in Pennsylvania" and provides a listing of those projects. So, it appears that the Heinz foundations themselves do not give to CAIR, just to an organization that gives to CAIR.
August 2, 2004 update: In another undated statement, this one a listing of grants awarded in calendar 2003, the Tides Foundation indicates it did not support CAIR last year.
August 17, 2004 update: The question kept nagging at me, why would the Heinz Endowments, with their professional staffs, need Tides to distribute their money? Does this not just add a layer of expense? Money being fungible, does this offer a way for the Endowments to send money untraceably to recipients it would rather not be associated with? So I asked this question to Maxwell King and he replied to me thus:
I want to give you a brief answer to the question of why the Heinz Endowments would use an organization in California for grants to programs in Pennsylvania. Back in the 1990s, the endowments staff looked for an intermediary that could provide back-office (admin., payroll, human resources, insurance, etc) services to Pennsylvania non-profits that were either too small or too new to have the capacity to provide such services themselves.
Since we were starting up new organizations in the fields of social-service and the environment, we needed such help. they couldn't find any such organization here, and so turned to Tides Center in San Francisco as one of the few organizations in the country that did such work. There were few other choices, and a lot of foundations (including some relatively conservative ones) and the federal government also started using Tides, and still do. More recently, Tides started a Tides Center of Pennsylvania to provide those services.
Every grant we made that went through Tides Center was directed by contract to Pennsylvania non-profits, and we never made grants to the Tides Foundation for other purposes. So the charge that we used this connection to launder money is absolutely untrue.