A veteran senator who let his mistress drown in a car he recklessly drove into a pond, rented a brothel for an entire night in Chile and sought meetings with communists is being honored by the Obama administration this month.
Ted Kennedy received his posthumous accolades from the Department of Labor (DOL) with an induction into the agency’s “Hall of Honor.” The recognition is meant to showcase the life-changing contributions that a unique group of people have made on the American way of work, according to the agency. A special panel comprised of the Solicitor of Labor, the Assistant Secretary for Policy and the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management decides who gets honored. Selecting the former Massachusetts senator was an “absolute no-brainer,” according to DOL Secretary Thomas Perez because Kennedy “had a profound impact on so many people.”
More importantly the lawmaker, who died in 2009 from brain cancer, changed the lives of millions of people he never met, the DOL chief said during Kennedy’s induction ceremony this month. They include the workers who needed a raise, the children who needed a first-class education, the seniors seeking retirement with dignity, the immigrants striving for the American Dream, the LGBT Americans seeding equality, the men and women with disabilities demanding their civil rights and so many more. “Senator Kennedy was passionate, principled, progressive and also pragmatic,” Perez said, adding that he “was a man of deep conviction.”
The praise continued as Perez credited the deceased senator with helping truck drivers and teachers get higher wages and pensions via notoriously corrupt labor unions. “Because no one understood better how the labor movement and the power of worker voice have sustained the middle class for generations in America,” Perez said. Then the labor secretary commended Kennedy for his role in passing President Obama’s disastrous healthcare law, which has already robbed taxpayers out of tens of millions of dollars. “He didn’t live to see it enacted, but make no mistake about it: there would be no Affordable Care Act without Senator Edward Kennedy,” Perez proclaimed.
Absent from the festivities, which were attended by the Kennedy family as well as high-profile members of Congress, was the dark side of the senator’s storied life. For instance, in 1969 Kennedy drove his car into a pond in Chappaquiddick, east of Martha’s Vineyard after a night of partying. The senator escaped the accident unscathed while his mistress, 28-year-old Democratic campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned in the car. Kennedy had an expired license and had been drinking at the party yet he only got a slap on the hand, a two-month suspended jail sentence. The tragedy at Chappaquiddick became known as the most brilliant cover-up ever achieved in a nation where investigative procedures are well developed. Two decades after the horrific event more light was shed on the cover-up when the foreman of the grand jury that investigated the accident confessed that the panel was pressured by a judge and a prosecutor not to pursue the case. The foreman said the jury was manipulated and blocked from doing its job.
As if that scandal weren’t bad enough, Kennedy also made arrangements to rent a brothel for an entire night and sought meetings with communists and others with left-wing views during a tour of several Latin American countries. At the time Kennedy was Assistant District Attorney of Suffolk County and for decades the records were kept secret by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). After the senator died Judicial Watch sued the FBI for the once-secret documents, which say “While Kennedy was in Santiago he made arrangements to ‘rent’ a brothel for an entire night. Kennedy allegedly invited one of the Embassy chauffeurs to participate in the night’s activities.” He insisted on interviewing “the angry young men” of each country and meeting with a communist in Bogota that had been mentioned in U.S. investigations of Soviet spy rings.