Caroline Kennedy, President Barack Obama’s nominee as ambassador to Japan, is worth between $67 million and $278 million, according to personal financial-disclosure reports.
Kennedy and her husband’s assets include family trusts; government and public authority bonds; commercial property in New York, Chicago and Washington; and holdings in the Cayman Islands, according to statements posted on the U.S. Office of Government Ethics website. As is standard for public officials and nominees, Kennedy listed her holdings in broad ranges.
Obama announced July 24 that he would nominate Kennedy, 55, as ambassador to Japan. She awaits Senate confirmation and would be the first woman to serve in that post.
Kennedy gave Obama an early lift in his 2008 campaign, writing an essay in the New York Times comparing him with her father, President John F. Kennedy, and endorsing him at a rally with her uncle, the late Senator Edward Kennedy, in Washington before the biggest primary day, Super Tuesday. She also spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention that renominated Obama.
Kennedy’s 60-page filing listed eight Cayman Island partnerships, with a combined value ranging from $542,000 to $1.2 million. They’re listed as Blackstone Capital Partners.
The filing showed between $750,000 and $1.5 million in oil and gas leases. She said she would sell some investment funds, including one from Goldman Sachs, if confirmed.
Other holdings include property on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard. She has listed part of it, two waterfront parcels in the town of Aquinnah, for sale for a total of $45 million.
She received $437,500 for her work on the book, “Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy,” and $325,000 in speaking fees.
In a letter to State Department deputy legal adviser Richard Visek, she said she would resign from several positions upon confirmation, including serving on the boards of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, the institute of politics at Harvard University and a New York City charter school.
While she said she will remain a trustee of several family trusts, she won’t be paid for her work on them.
Kennedy said her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, won’t contact the U.S. Embassy in Japan or the Japanese government on behalf of his companies nor any clients. He owns a firm that designs interactive museum exhibitions.
She requested a waiver for her “financial interest” in Austin, Texas-based Freescale Semiconductor (FSL:US) Inc., a technology company that has two facilities in Japan.
Kennedy isn’t the wealthiest among Obama’s nominees. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is worth more than $1.5 billion, according to estimates from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making her one of the richest cabinet officials in U.S. history.
Kennedy joins a host of Obama political supporters in top diplomatic positions. At least 26 of Obama’s current and nominated ambassadors were major Democratic campaign contributors, giving a total of at least $13.6 million to him, the Democratic Party, and congressional candidates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Kennedy would replace the current envoy in Tokyo, John Roos, a technology lawyer and Obama donor.
The appointment of wealthy allies to embassies with which the U.S. has close relationships goes back decades. Ambassadors make a maximum base salary of $179,700, and the frequent parties and dinners they throw can cost hundreds of thousands more, far more than is covered by their State Department budgets.
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