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Disclosures: Kennedy's $2 Million Book Deal, Kohl's $5 Million Windfall, and Other Tidbits

Correction appended

Membership has its privileges, and nowhere is that more evident than in the U.S. Senate, the world's greatest deliberative body. There, even during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, senators found ways to cash in last year. Inside Washington Post headquarters, on 15th Street NW, more than half a dozen of us are digging through the personal financial disclosure forms for senators, which were released today and cover 2008.

Here are just a few of the interesting nuggets uncovered so far:

• Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who is battling brain cancer, signed a book deal in February 2008 with Grand Central Publishing. It's the first ever autobiography that the patriarch of the Kennedy dynasty has ever written -- and he received a $1,995,833 advance for the deal last year.

• Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), whose family founded Kohl's department stores, reported that a qualified blind trust his family has held since 1989 generated income of more than $5 million last year.

• Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Finance Committee, is a known BlackBerry maven, frequently seen walking the Capitol hallways tapping out messages. However, Baucus decided to cash out his investment in the device -- in July he reported selling between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of stock in Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry.

• Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), whose brother James runs The Atlantic magazine, has journalism not in his blood, but in his portfolio. Among the other well-known companies he's invested in, Bennet -- a Washingtonian by birthright -- lists the Washington Post Company as stock that he's invested in. t's unclear from his forms, however, if he still holds the stock. (We here on 15th Street don't mind if you sell the stock, senator, just please keep buying the paper.)

• Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), under fire for a mortgage he received from Countrywide Financial, asked for an extension to file later this summer. However, Dodd distributed to the media today a form showing the soaring value of a cottage he owns outside Galway, Ireland. The cottage, which was purchased with a Kansas City businessman, has more than tripled in value since it was purchased in 2002. It's gone from being worth $190,000 to $658,000 at the end of last year.

Staff writers Paul Kane, Ben Pershing and Carol Leonnig and researchers Madonna Liebling and Alice Crites contributed to this report.

CORRECTION: The original version of this item incorrectly referred to Sen. Herb Kohl as the "head" of Kohl's department stores. Kohl and his family left the management of the company in 1978.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 12, 2009; 3:57 PM ET
Categories:  Purse Strings  
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im sorry, but i would not waste time reading a book about this phoney loon,about his life story. if he had gotten the same health care he is proposing for the rest of us,he would be dead allready.
i would like to commend the washington post on their ability to be mostly objective on all subjects. if this were huffpo i would have been banned for any opinion that does not match theirs,and i have been banned.smiles.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 12, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

why would anyone want to read the life story of a socialist nutcase that would not be alive if he had the same healthcare he is proposing for the rest of us ?
take a moment,and think about taking the right color pill,thatwill allow you to live outside the matrix.
google search then watch a few minuates of news clip that makes more sense than all the bull you will recieve from ny times.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 13, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't pay a penny for a book written by Kennedy. We need term limits in Congress!!!

Posted by: atthun | June 13, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

These sad cases should read Kennedy's book when it comes out and then they will see the work he's done to better the quality of their lives, about which they have no idea, since they are too busy hate mongering. Bet they don't know all the secret back channel stuff he did for Ronald Reagan with the Soviets, or the other legislation he's co-sponsored with the GOP. Even Republicans say he is an extraordinary Senator of historic accomplishments. If they've done an iota of what Ted Kennedy has done for his country and citizens around the world, I'd be very surprised. They are sadly misinformed, uninformed and aren't qualified to carry his shoes.

Posted by: Voter24 | June 13, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

i see voter 24 just cannot get it. there are a million reasons i would not spit on kennedy if he were on fire,the least of which,was an attempt to cover up the fact he killed a girl,and didnt try to save her,but was worried about saving his own butt.
these brainwashed individuals should really watch the obamadeception,and read the constitution,and the bill of rights,and ponder for an hour or so,how this became a great country. no? i didnt think they would,its easier to shoot off at the inexperienced mouth,about things without doing the homework it takes to reason.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 13, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

p.s. kennedy,obama,reagen,bush,pelosi,franks,carter,clinton,and a dozen others would not make a pimple on andrew jackson,or john f kennedys butt.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 13, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

We need a good story on how these politicians, judges and former presidents obtain such huge payments for books which usually are remaindered. Exactly what is the economic foundation of the book publishing industry? Who funds these payments? So many publishing houses are now foreign owned, it raises questions about whether these payments are not really bribes, and what about the outsized speaking fees given ex-Presidents and other politicians. Go to it, journalists!!!

Posted by: notassmartasyou | June 13, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Somedays there is hope that journalism will recover from years of unprofessional lackey-ism and return to its role as the no-agenda watchdog for the citizens of America. There are unlimited golden opportunities to do expository work that will benefit this country...OUR country.
Go for it - please!

Posted by: rebel52 | June 15, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Senator Kohl is not the Head of Kohls Deparment Stores. The Kohl family sold their interest over 25 years ago. Also I would not call money he earned a "wind fall"

Posted by: dhansh | June 15, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Ted Kennedy has sponsored into law more legislation to help people in this country, of all income levels, of all races, than any other Senator in US history. God bless him!!

Posted by: Junius1 | June 15, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

ok junious, show us one thing kennedy ever did for this nation, other than the fact he stayed away for a while.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 15, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Kennedy will be able to finish the book before he dies. If he dies and the book is unfinished, does his family keep the $1.9M advance?

Did Countrywide help Dodd with his Galway Cottage mortgage too?

Posted by: gerrypooh | June 16, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Herb Kohl, owner of Kohl's. get the facts right. He used to own a grocery store and I don't believe he had anything to to do with Kohl's Dept store. If he did I would sell my stock!

A book about Ted Kennedy-Please. What is the title going to be, "A bridge over very troubling Waters" or how about "A Bridge too narrow"

Posted by: bbarbee2 | June 16, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: missbaby01hotmailcomIDONOTUNDERSTANDWHATYOUAREASKING | June 16, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the family of Mary Jo Kopekne will receive any royalties from the book? Will he tell all on what happened that fateful day when he left an innocent girl in an overturned car in the water, and she drowned because he was too drunk to pull her out?

Posted by: SeniorVet | June 16, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

good point senior vet.
instead of trying to save her,he runs off,trying to figure out how to save his own butt. i look at the country,and how people like kennedy,waxman,murtha,pelosi ried,dodd,franks,rangel,and so many more keep getting voted back,and i cant help but hope the people in those states go belly up. i can not feel sorry for the state of california,i hate to feel this way about my fellow americans,but if these people can not learn, then let their states go down.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 16, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Atthun: any term limits issues can be solved by an *intelligent* citizenry exercising their right to vote - emphasis on intelligent. With newspaper readership declining, belief in questionable web-based content rising, and demogogues & American Idols capturing more & more eyeballs, it is not surprising what we get.

Posted by: skybrew | June 17, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

And as to the political affiliation of the wealthy, check out the following:

Posted by: skybrew | June 17, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The only thing I want to ever hear out of Ted Kennedy's mouth is a full truthful confession about the infamous Mary Jo death. I don't think he has it in him to come clean about what the real true story is. I don't think he should have ever been allowed to stay in the Senate and I have absolutely no respect for him whatsoever. I also agree with the other poster who stated that if he (kennedy) had received the kind of health care he has been a proponent of for so many years, that he would have been dead a long time ago. I don't wish any harm to the man, but I don't like him, i don't respect him and I feel sorry for all the people who will be duped into buying his book and lining his estate with even more millions of dollars. Sick, sick, sick!

Posted by: nancycrichton | June 17, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Instead of writing a book, Teddy should be composing his"I'm sorry" speech to Mary Jo Kopechne.....anybody remember her?

Posted by: TAbramczyk | June 18, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Sen. Dodd should check out the current value of his Galway property. Property prices in Ireland are dropping fast, it's a buyers market.
Cash is King

Posted by: dankelly1 | June 18, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

thank-you VOTER 24. it is so nice to read a positive comment about the senior senator from the commonwealth of massachusetts. home is where the heart is....and i havent been home in over 12 years. cookie maker from boston

Posted by: dhousand1 | June 19, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

poor, por, if this wowfully uninformed indiviual could only be taught how to DO GOOD he might just be able to be allowed into the human race....if any of you care to see first hand the kind of health care my senator would like to have for the rest of you....drop in on boston...get sick or have an accident...then you can be educated...a dear friend of mine became ill on the street, passed out, broke her jaw in 3 places. she was taken to mass general hospital for care. at the time, she was in between jobs and had no insurance....with the health care program in place in massachusetts, this was no problem. she was in the hospital for 10 days, had surgery, her jaw wired and was give the very same care that anyone with insurance would have gotten.the difference was that she NEVER GOT A BILL......ok, so this is only one example....i was njured on the job...reversed the curvature of my spine....for 2 years, i couldnt work, could barely walk, slept on the took 45 mins to walk to the NEIGHBORHOOD HEALTHCARE CENTER, 3 blocks away, for my 6 day a week ultra sound therapy. i saw a rheumatologist 4 out of 6 days a week. because the medication i needed had some side affects, i visited the mental health clinic at the neighborhood health these health care centers you can get-senior care advice-neutricianists,specialists in everything imaginable-mental health counciling -family counciling-neonatial care-regular health care visits. it is based on the ability to i had only $240.00 a month assistance for 2 years, i never got a bill. this is the kind of health care insurance the SENATOR EDWARD MOORE KENNEDY has been fighting for for over 35 years. let me repete this...SENATOR KENNEDY HAS BEEN FIGHTING FOR AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR OVER THIRTY-FIVE YEARS. in 1970, he voiced the concern that "NO PARENT SHOULD EVER HAVE TO ASK, IS MY CHILD $5.00 SICK(A BOTTLE OF COUGH MEDICINE) OR $50.00 SICK(A TRIP TO THE DOCTOR)." if any of you have never been in the postion of having to make this kind of decision in the night while you craddle someone you love, then take this small bit of advice SHUT THE F$&&& UP AND STOP CRITISISIING SOMETHING YOU HAVE NO WAY OF UNDERSTANDING. and by the way people who live in glass houses should never throw parties....the only person i can think of who actually was in a position to throw stones, choose not to. GET OVER YOURSELVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: dhousand1 | June 19, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

to missbaby: come on, sweety. dont embarress yourself so publicly." the only ones in congress who have money are the democrats." you should be so very embarressed for making this kind of statement. i'll bet the republicans are rolling in the isles about that one. you either need to come out of the cave you have chosen to live in or pull your head out of the sand. the republicans are poor? that is the biggest joke i have seen. bar none......try looking up the fifnancial statements of your local republian members of congress. educate yourself...then try again. unbelievable.

Posted by: dhousand1 | June 19, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: dhousand1 | June 19, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

yup. i think it did. sorry folks...censored swear words only #%&/. no personnal attacks...only blanket outrage. oh, well.too bad

Posted by: dhousand1 | June 19, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

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