Joe Kennedy's Links to Chávez Could Hobble Senate Bid

Venezuelan oil funds Joe II's charity
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2009 4:10 PM CDT
FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2009, file photo, Joe Kennedy II speaks at a Celebration of Life Memorial Service for Sen. Edward Kennedy at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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(Newser) – Joe Kennedy II’s chance of winning his uncle’s Senate seat may be complicated by his ties Hugo Chávez, the Boston Herald reports. Joe II’s Citizens Energy charity, which delivers oil to needy US households, is almost completely dependent on the Venezuelan leader’s largesse. Over the past 2 years, the nonprofit has resold Chavez-donated oil for $164 million and used profits to give oil to the poor.

And Kennedy's face runs prominently on Citizens Energy ads. “If Joe were to become a candidate, he would have to answer some very uncomfortable questions,” says a Republican strategist, who adds that “Chávez is not a friend to the United States." But a Republican former governor of Massachusetts says it "won't stick" because helping the poor is a good thing. Kennedy is "not loony left at all," he says, "and I think he could be very good in office.’’