Politics

Obama meets with Kerry brothers implicated in 1972 ‘Watergate’-style incident

Photo of Patrick Howley
Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

President Obama convened a Cabinet meeting Thursday with new Secretary of State John Kerry and, among others, Kerry’s brother Cameron Kerry, the current general counsel for the Department of Commerce.

Observers stated that Thursday likely marked the first time two brothers had both attended a Cabinet meeting together since John and Robert Kennedy. But records reveal that the Kerry brothers have a troublesome history of working together politically.

Cameron Kerry was arrested in 1972 for breaking and entering into a building that housed the campaign office of his brother’s congressional opponent.

Cameron Kerry, then a recent Harvard graduate and staffer on John Kerry’s first congressional campaign, was arrested on September 18, 1972, one day before John Kerry won the Democratic nomination for the House seat, and charged with breaking and entering with the intent to commit larceny.

The arrest occurred at nearly 2 AM in the basement of a Lowell, Massachusetts building that housed both John Kerry’s campaign office and the campaign office of Kerry’s Democratic primary opponent Tony DiFruscia. The building contained DiFruscia’s telephone wires. DiFruscia claimed that the Kerry staffers were trying to sabotage him.

Cameron Kerry claimed that he had been alerted that John Kerry’s own telephone cables were going to be sabotaged, prompting his early-morning presence in the building’s basement. One year later, the charge against Cameron Kerry was dropped.

“I kicked in the door,” admitted Kerry’s campaign field director Thomas J. Vallely, who was arrested alongside Cameron Kerry. Charges against Vallely were also later dropped.

“It was an impulsive, rash thing that we did and that John Kerry ended up having to deal with. That’s all we’re going to say on that one,” Cameron Kerry later told a reporter.

Kerry brother arrested in Lowell ‘Watergate’” read the top headline of the next day’s Lowell Sun. (PHOTO)

Cameron Kerry went on to a 25-year stint as a partner at the law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo. That firm’s former partner Mo Cowan was recently appointed by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick to temporarily fill John Kerry’s vacated U.S. Senate seat.

Cameron Kerry has served as general counsel of Obama’s Commerce Department since 2009.

As general counsel of Obama’s Commerce Department, Cameron Kerry oversees 400 lawyers who advise 14 different bureaus and agencies.

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