by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The stated mission of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute is to teach the general public about how the U.S. Senate works, so it’s fitting that the shrine to the late Massachusetts Democrat is funded, in part, by $38 million in taxpayers’ money.
The $78 million combination museum and interactive civics exhibit was formally dedicated by President Obama on Monday. Besides a section honoring Kennedy’s 46-year political career, which ended with his Aug. 25, 2009 death, the Institute will offer a “Senate Immersion Module” which aims to teach visitors how the upper chamber works.
Situated next to the exclusively privately funded John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the Institute has raised over $80 million in private funding and is set to charge a steep $16 entry fee to adult visitors. …
… But all of that dough is apparently not enough to keep the 40,000 square foot Institute up and running.
On top of an $18.9 million Defense Department grant doled out in Sept. 2010, the Institute received $13.6 million from the Department of Education, according to USASpending.gov. In the 2009 federal budget, another $5.8 million was appropriated through the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services.