OPINION| If you were outraged by the fact that was jammed in $25,000,000 for the Kennedy Center, just wait until you hear this leaked audio recording.
The Audio was first obtained by One America News’, Jack Posobiec, and now the Gateway Pundit has gotten their hands on it and made it available for the nation to listen to for ourselves.
Democrats managed to finesse $25 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts into the bipartisan Senate coronavirus relief deal.
‘In the $2 trillion coronavirus emergency relief package, the Kennedy Center, which is located in Washington, D.C., got a line item of $25 million for “deep cleaning, increased teleworking capabilities, and operating and administrative expenses to ensure the Center will resume normal operations immediately upon reopening,” according to a supplemental appropriations summary from the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Kennedy Center aid was one of the items included in proposed legislation from the House that was widely criticized as having little to do with addressing the coronavirus pandemic or the wide-scale effect on the economy. The bill from House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sought $35 million for the Kennedy Center. Other provisions included alternative fuel requirements for airlines, debt forgiveness for the U.S. Postal Service, and mandates for same-day voter registration.’
Well, at least we can keep the people who work at the Kennedy Center getting pay checks, right? WRONG.
ABC News reported:
‘The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., will stop paying its musicians despite expecting to receive some $25 million in aid from the recently signed coronavirus national stimulus package, a union that represents the orchestra said.
The center’s president, Deborah Rutter, told the National Symphony Orchestra Friday night its musicians would receive their last paycheck this week and that they would not be paid until the venue reopens, according to a statement the American Federation of Musicians.’
The Gateway Pundit has the scoop on the call:
‘During the leaked conference call, which took place on March 26, Rutter repeatedly makes excuses for why they are laying off their employees despite knowing that they will be receiving $25 million in the stimulus package. She says that the Kennedy Center has been barely keeping their heads afloat for years and that being closed, without the money from the government, would have meant they would run out of cash on May 15.
Rutter also discussed how they deployed a lobbyist to get them the money from the stimulus package, seemingly with no intention of using it to protect the jobs of their staff.
“We are really grateful for this $25 million, but I will tell you that it does not keep us whole,” Rutter says in the beginning of the call. “In fact, the language that Tracy [Henke] worked so closely with all the appropriators on was clear that we needed this just to be able to reopen.”
She continued on to say that “this does not keep us whole along the way. Fortunately, Tracy has really great relationships on the Hill. We have fantastic support from board leadership and all of those relationships and savvy, I will say, is what brought us that $25 million.”
Henke is the center’s Vice President of Government Relations, as of November 2019. She has previously worked in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and the private sector.
Rutter went on to address the fact that there are many people who are very unhappy about the amount of money going to the center, when it should be going to places like hospitals.
“Some of you are probably aware of the fact that we are now, uh, the target for a lot of unhappy people who believe that we are taking the money away from sick people. In the case of a stimulus bill, it is to try to continue to do business, and to stimulate the economy in the future,” Rutter said. “In this case, this funding is pretty prescriptive in that it says ‘you need to do this for operational expenses so that you can open up again after this, uh, uh, closure — this period of time, this closure.’”
“What’s different from previous funding from the federal government is that it will allow us to pay for things that the federal appropriation generally doesn’t — so in this case it will be able to be used for operational expenses, like what it takes for us as a uh, a staff, to be able to uh, uh, make sure that the building is open and ready for programming and activity, after, when we can reopen,” Rutter continued.
Rutter did not specify what they are normally not allowed to use federal funds for, but will be able to use it for this time around.
Our source said that the stimulus is going to the nonprofit portion of the center, and that they already receive federal government appropriations for the building and its maintenance — including the staff that maintains it.
During the call, Rutter repeatedly apologizes for seeming inarticulate as she clearly attempts to carefully craft what she is saying and the words she chooses.
“I’m sorry that I seem very stumbly and less articulate today, but this is a really really challenging time. I know it’s hard for you, I pray that you all are healthy and safe and I’m grateful for your commitment and I’m grateful for the work that you are doing from home,” she said.
Rutter repeatedly says that the “$25 million does not allow us to maintain our current structure.” Their current payroll, she explains, is approximately $5 million per month, including taxes.’ Read the rest at the Gateway Pundit or listen to the audio here.