Court records show Kerry Kennedy, the late RFK’s daughter, was on the take for her advocacy against Texaco in Ecuador
Court records show Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Sen Robert F. Kennedy and the ex-wife of NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, stands to make as much as $40 million in a secret deal to publicly rail against oil drilling in Ecuador, according to an eye-popping report published Sunday in the New York Post.
Paid by the legal team representing residents of the Ecuadorian town of Lago Agrio, Kennedy wrote op-eds and lobbied government officials about damage oil companies caused 1,700 square miles of jungle.
The oilfield surrounding the town has reportedly brought ecological destruction and sickened villagers. In a 2011 ruling unprecedented for its size, a judge in the South American country ordered Chevron, now the owner of Texaco, to pay $18 billion in civil damages stemming from its drilling operation there.
The court documents detail a $50,000 payment, reimbursement for $40,000 in expenses and plans for a $10,000 monthly retainer. They also disclose that Kennedy was to receive a share in any court judgments paid out by the oil company — an amount that the Post said was worth up to $40 million.
The RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights also pays Kennedy $225,239 per year to serve as its president.
In a November 2009 op-ed for the liberal Huffington Post, Kennedy wrote that the Lago Agrio oilfields were “Chevron’s Chernobyl in the Amazon,” and called the situation “an issue of human rights — clear violations of the indigenous Ecuadoreans’ rights to life, security, and self-determination.”
“[A]s an American, I am appalled that a corporation from our country would treat innocent people with such disdain,” Kennedy added.
Neither Kennedy nor the Huffington Post disclosed that she was a hired shill.
After Chevron’s 2001 acquisition of Texaco, it aid for a $40 million environmental restoration project, supervised by Ecuador’s government.
Internal emails included in court documents show lawyers for the Ecuadorean villagers saying Kennedy’s advocacy “[w]ill cost money, but not much.” They also show attorneys discussing her planned lobbying of a Chevron investor statement with New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in order to win his approval.
The state’s pension fund holds a $780 million stake in Chevron. A year after the attorneys discussed leveraging Kennedy’s access to DeNapoli, he recommended that Chevron settle the lawsuit.
David is The Daily Caller’s executive editor. Follow him on Twitter