Kennedy’s Campaign Is Accused of Lying About His New York Residency


A group aligned with President Biden is challenging Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s New York ballot petition, saying his campaign lied about his New York residency.

The group, Clear Choice, says he long ago moved to the West Coast and has virtually no connection to the address listed on his petitions — an address of a longtime friend, where Mr. Kennedy’s independent presidential campaign acknowledges he has never actually lived.

The complaint, filed with the state Board of Elections on Thursday afternoon, is one of more than a dozen filed with New York’s board of elections, some of which object to his campaign’s signature-gathering efforts. The group provided a time-stamped copy of the complaint to The New York Times.

A Board of Elections spokeswoman, Kathleen McGrath, said a determination of residency would be “outside the ministerial scope” of the board’s review of petitions.

“I will note that the courts and a judicial proceeding would be the appropriate venue for challenging his residency,” she said.

Still, residency challenges are certain to stall Mr. Kennedy’s ballot access push in New York, and possibly elsewhere: He has used the same address in a number of other states where he is filing to run.

A particular concern is California, whose 54 electoral votes make it the biggest prize in the presidential election. Mr. Kennedy’s running mate, Nicole Shanahan, also lists California as her home, which adds another complication for Mr. Kennedy. Under a Constitutional quirk, presidential and vice-presidential candidates who hail from the same state are ineligible to receive its electoral votes.

On May 28, the Kennedy campaign said it had turned in more than 135,000 signatures with New York elections officials — three times the required 45,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot.

But the Board of Elections received 13 objections to the Kennedy petition, records show; those were followed up this week with more specific complaints.

In its challenges, Clear Choice cites property records, legal filings, news articles and a series of public statements establishing Mr. Kennedy’s current home as California. Because he claimed residency in New York, the group contends, his petitions list the wrong address for the candidate and therefore should all be thrown out.

“The objectors have proven and, will continue to prove, by clear and convincing evidence that candidate Kennedy violated New York State law when he listed the petition residence on his presidential petitions, and therefore candidate Kennedy should be barred from seeking the public office of president of the United States,” the group’s complaint says.

Mr. Kennedy has deep ties to New York. His campaign says he has been a permanent resident of the state since 1968, the year his father was assassinated in Los Angeles. In 1982, at age 27, he was hired as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. He later worked for decades as an environmental lawyer for Riverkeeper, a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting and restoring the Hudson River.

His campaign insists his current address in Katonah, N.Y., is legitimately his official address.

“He receives mail there. His driver’s license is registered there. His automobile is registered there. His voting registration is from there,” the campaign said in a statement. “He pays rent to the owner.”

Mr. Kennedy owned property in Westchester County from the mid-1980s until at least 2012, when he sold a family estate in Bedford, about 40 miles north of Manhattan, records show. Earlier that year, his estranged wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, died by suicide at the property while the two were locked in bitter divorce proceedings.

Since then Mr. Kennedy has been registered to vote at several addresses, including one belonging to his sister and others owned by friends, records show. The New York Post first reported on Mr. Kennedy’s claim of New York residency in May.

In 2023, he switched his listed address from the house of one friend to another in Westchester County, voting records show. The home he gave most recently as his address is on Croton Lake Road in Katonah. Its listed owner is a woman described in published reports as the wife of Mr. Kennedy’s longtime friend Timothy Haydock, a Westchester doctor. Mr. Haydock and Mr. Kennedy each served as best man in the other’s wedding.

“Mr. Kennedy’s best friend invited him to move into his Croton Lake Road residence in which Mr. Kennedy had been a frequent guest,” the campaign said in its statement. “Mr. Kennedy transferred his residence in June 2023.”

Mr. Kennedy bought property in Malibu, Calif., in 2014 with his third wife, the actress Cheryl Hines, according to The Daily Mail. But Mr. Kennedy’s campaign said he has always considered New York his permanent home, though he has lived elsewhere temporarily, including in California.

“He has never claimed any other state as a residency,” the campaign said. “He intends to move back to New York after his wife retires from acting.”

New York election law states that residence in the state is defined as “that place where a person maintains a fixed, permanent and principal home and to which he, wherever temporarily located, always intends to return.”

Kirsten Noyes and Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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