LAS VEGAS – While most Americans are just getting to know would-be Democratic first lady Teresa Heinz Kerry (search), the billionaire heiress is no stranger to environmentalists, who have dubbed her "St. Teresa" for her generosity to green causes.
Heinz Kerry is chairman of the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Foundation, and is also on the board of the Vera Heinz Endowment. With assets of $1.2 billion, the foundations give out $50 million a year — much of that to environmental groups.
Supporters say that as first lady, Heinz Kerry, widow to the ketchup magnate and late Sen. John Heinz, would be selective in her choices of interests to support.
"It tells us she would be much the same as first lady as she has been a philanthropist — giving money to people she likes and making sure it is spent against those she doesn't," said Ronald Arnold of the Center for Defense of Free Enterprise (search).
Groups supported in some way by Heinz Kerry's foundations have attacked President Bush for "endangering" citizens' health, "dismantling" environmental laws and "selling out" America's wild heritage.
While no one questions her ideals, critics say Heinz Kerry doesn't practice what her green groups preach.
Sen. John Kerry and Heinz Kerry own five large houses, three SUVs, a yacht and a private jet.
Click in the video box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' William La Jeunesse.