Caroline Kennedy really wants to replace Hillary Clinton in the US Senate, but ambition has its limits. While JFK’s daughter tries to make the case that she can campaign for the seat in two successive elections in 2010 and 2012, she’s already refusing the normal disclosure rules candidates would follow. Kennedy won’t reveal her investments or even her criminal record, the New York Times reports:
If she were applying to be, say, an undersecretary of education in Barack Obama’s new administration, Caroline Kennedy would have to fill out a 63-item confidential questionnaire disclosing potentially embarrassing text messages and diary entries, the immigration status of her household staff, even copies of every résumé she used in the last 10 years.
If she were running for election to the Senate, Ms. Kennedy would have to file a 10-part, publicly available report disclosing her financial assets, credit card debts, mortgages, book deals and the sources of any payments greater than $5,000 in the last three years.
But Ms. Kennedy, who has asked Gov. David A. Paterson to appoint her to succeed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton — and who helped oversee the vetting process for Mr. Obama’s possible running mates — is declining to provide a variety of basic data, including companies she has a stake in and whether she has ever been charged with a crime.
Ms. Kennedy declined on Monday to reply to those and other questions posed by The New York Times about any potential ethical, legal and financial entanglements. Through a spokesman, she said she would not disclose that kind of information unless and until she becomes a senator.
Paterson says he will require any potential appointee to submit that information prior to selection. Paterson just got bit by the disclosure bug himself when his closest aide’s failure to pay income taxes for five years surfaced a few months ago. It seems unlikely that he’ll rely on Caroline’s assurances of propriety before sending her to Washington.
Besides, what would Caroline need to hide? She may claim that she wants to remain private in her affairs, but all that goes out the window when pursuing political office, perhaps especially when seeking an appointment. I doubt that she has an arrest record — any arrest of Caroline Kennedy would have been blasted in headlines around the world — but her financial dealings could show potential conflicts of interest. The constituents she would represent at least have a legitimate expectation to have access to that information before she gets granted a Senate sinecure.
New Yorkers have to wonder what Kennedy will do for them, because so far, this pursuit has been all about Caroline. She won’t answer questions from the press and she won’t offer the normal disclosures unless and until she gets appointed. We joke about American royalty, but in this case, Caroline seems to really believe in the royal prerogative for herself. I wonder if she uses the royal We when referring to herself as well.