Kennedy Center Orchestra Laid Off After $25 Million Aid Package

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Kennedy Center: Where Is the Funding Going?

Nothing screams louder to the mismanagement of taxpayer funding than waste that occurs during times of crisis. A time when the average worker needs the greatest assistance; a time when many are being laid off due to business closures. And happening during this time when the small business owner struggles to help employees and stay afloat is the travesty occurring at the Kennedy Center, one of the most lauded institutions that has flourished with its loaded treasure chest of endowments.

Included in the Emergency Relief Bill just approved by Congress, intended to help businesses and the economy as well as employees stay afloat during the Covid-19 closures, is a $25 million-dollar bailout for the Kennedy Center.  No sooner had the relief bill been voted on by Congress did the Center announce that it would lay off the nearly one hundred orchestra members who would no longer receive paychecks after the 3d of April, 2020.

The Kennedy Center has, as appointees to its board, accomplished persons, many having been appointed by the Presidents under which they served. Many currently serve as members of Congress. Honorary members include the current and former First Ladies of the United States.

Time to Demand Accountability

It’s time that the American taxpayer demand accountability from board members who serve the Kennedy Center. It begs the question as to who will profit from the relief funds if not all Kennedy Center employees will stay on the payroll. One can easily review the pay scales of the Center’s base staff of 46, totaling $3.6 million for 2018.

The $25 million bailout for the Center should adequately cover the orchestra members’ pay, as well. Because the Center has cancelled performances through May 10th of this year, operational costs should go down. This could potentially allow for sufficient funding for orchestra members. 

Kennedy Center: Investigation Needed!

Congress must investigate to determine whether any funding is finding its way into the pockets of those who have no right to those taxpayer monies. Currently serving on the board of the Kennedy Center is Valerie Jarrett, appointed by President Obama, who is known for her relationship to Iran. As the former President’s senior advisor, she served when billions in American foreign aid filled the Iranian treasure chests. She attempted to persuade then President Obama to refrain from killing Osama Bin Laden. 

Another Obama appointee to the Board is former National Security Advisor and Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice. Rice is known for lying about her role in the unmasking scandal during the 2016 election cycle. After having engaged in acts to defeat a duly elected president, it can be difficult to generate trust in Rice’s presence on the board.

As more facts are currently being revealed regarding the theft of government funds and foreign aid that have been laundered in order to line the pockets of Soros-run NGOs and other anti-American entities, one must ask where the stimulus aid package funds are headed if not for the employees they were intended to help. One must ask whether such persons with dubious pasts can sit on such a board and engage in ethical decision-making. 

According to an article in the Washingtonian, The Kennedy Center has announced that they will furlough 60% of their full time staff. Additionally, there is no work for their approximately 700 part-time workers. After noting that a bare minimum of staff will be retained, they announced that the stimulus would be spent on IT ($1,000,000 total), employee compensation and benefits (20 million total), artist contracts and fees, deep cleaning and other administrative costs.

Recently appointed to the Kennedy Center Board by President Trump are two prominent conservative figures: actor John Voight and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. These conservative voices must be raised to ensure that taxpayer funding is used only for that which it is has been designated.