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Litigation slush funds: subsidizing RFK, Jr.

You'd think mainstream politicos would want to keep their distance from hotheaded environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., what with the way the celebrity scion routinely compares the present administration in Washington to the regimes of Hitler and Mussolini, opines that large-scale hog farms are a bigger threat to America than Osama bin Laden's terrorists, and tells audiences that the media "should all drink poison Kool Aid and restore integrity to their profession". And yet in Westchester County, north of New York City, Kennedy's Riverkeeper operation has now become a repeat recipient of taxpayer-driven funds, thanks to the actions of District Attorney Jeanine Pirro. Last year, as part of a settlement with the Englehard Corporation over violations at a Peekskill pigment-manufacturing plant, Pirro arranged for the company to pay an undisclosed sum to Riverkeeper; the arrangement was blasted by Dan O'Neill, mayor of nearby Buchanan, who assailed Riverkeeper for its "fear-mongering" regarding the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, which it has been campaigning to close. And now a January settlement by Pirro's office with Domino Sugar over violations at its Yonkers facility includes, as one of its provisions, a $100,000 required payment from the sugar company to Riverkeeper.

Those of us who live in Westchester County and thus observe Kennedy's antics at close range can now have the dubious satisfaction of knowing that we helped pay for them. As for Pirro, she's reportedly interested in running for Eliot Spitzer's job as New York attorney general -- on the Republican line, incredible as that may sound. More: Amy Ridenour comments.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.