There is a fine line between the two, but it may have been crossed: WaPo reports that

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) announced yesterday that he is putting $850,000 of his own money into his presidential campaign and will put more in as soon as he gets a mortgage on his home on Beacon Hill in Boston.

Aides acknowledged that the personal contribution was crucial to keeping the campaign afloat at a time when expenditures are rising and fundraising has been falling.

“Senator Kerry has fulfilled his promise to invest in his own campaign,” declared Mary Beth Cahill, his campaign manager. “This is a clear statement by John Kerry — he is in the race to win the nomination and defeat George Bush.”

Kerry has rejected public financing to avoid spending limits that accompany the taxpayer subsidies. Two other candidates, President Bush and former Vermont governor Howard Dean, have rejected public financing, but Bush and Dean intend to raise the additional money from individual donors, not from their own assets.

Sources said Kerry was close to running out of money to finance his campaign. After getting off to a fast start, raising more than $7 million in the first quarter of 2003, sources said he is likely to raise between $1 million and $2 million in the final three months of the year, just when demands for travel, staff and television advertising are escalating rapidly.

Those demands are expected to grow geometrically in January. Kerry is seeking to come in at least in second place in both the Jan. 19 Iowa caucuses and the Jan. 27 New Hampshire primary, both of which require large expenditures.

Kerry borrowed the $850,000 from a bank as an advance on his obtaining a mortgage of $5 million or more for his half ownership of a townhouse on Louisburg Square, the most prestigious block in the upscale section of Boston, according to aides. Kerry is currently negotiating with at least two banks for a loan on his half of the home, which has been appraised for more than $10 million.

Kerry owns the home with his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, who in 1991 inherited a fortune estimated at $500 million or more when her then-husband, Sen. John Heinz III (R-Pa.), died in a plane crash. Under federal campaign law, Kerry cannot use money that is fully under her control. Much of her money is held in trusts with her as the beneficiary. She is allowed to give $2,000 to his campaign, and he can use half of any resources they hold jointly and all of any assets that he owns exclusively.

Kerry, aides said, will pay off the mortgage himself without help from his wife. Campaign finance specialists said Teresa Heinz Kerry could not cover the mortgage payments, because it would amount to an illegal contribution to his campaign.

This is frankly disturbing. What kind of man mortgage’s his wife’s house in pursuit of what is increasingly obviously a lost cause? Certainly not the kind I’d want as president.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    I would not lose any sleep over it James. Next year after he has officially lost his ass, she’ll give him a million dollars as a Christmas present.

    And we’ll not hear a peep from either McCain or Feingold.

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong, but, besides seemingly throwing money away, doesn’t Kerry appear to decrease in popularity the more he campaigns?

  3. When I heard this news on my drive in this morning, I briefly recalled when Sen. Bob Dole announced he wasn’t going to run for reelection to the Senate in 1996, that his bid for the White House was taking top priority in anything he would do there on out.

    And I remember thinking then to myself: “Poor guy, he doesn’t know he’s already lost the race.”

    That same thought came to mind regarding Sen. Kerry.

  4. Fredrik Nyman says:

    While I agree with you in principle, I think you’re a bit unfair to Kerry here. Mrs Kerry has a vast, unearned fortune, so a $850,000 loan is unlikely to hurt their credit ratings.