More Controversy On Edwards Fund Raising

John Edwards has often claimed to be more pure than his opponents with regards to fund raising but I’ve previously noted many of the contradictions in his claims. He obtains a tremendous percentage of his funds from a single source–trial lawyers. A candidate who receives such a large percentage of his contributions from a single source is in no position to take such a high moral ground or claim independence. Edwards also didn’t come out too well when The Washington Post looked at how pure the candidates were on campaign finance issues. Edwards was the most secretive with regards to revealing the identities of his big fund raisers. Today The Trail presents further questions regarding Edwards’ fund raising:

Funding for Edwards Sparks Controversy
John Edwards’s populist message has, without a doubt, helped distinguish him from the other Democratic candidates in Iowa.

But a central tenet of that message — that he is campaigning free from the influence of the powerful forces that control Washington — is being challenged in light of the most recent federal election filings by one of the outside groups advocating on his behalf, and has sparked a round of dueling memos by the managers of the Barack Obama and the Edwards campaigns.

As The Washington Post reported Friday, the independent expenditure group Alliance for a New America recently received nearly $500,000 from Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, a 97-year-old socialite who is the widow of Paul Mellon and daughter-in-law of industrialist Andrew Mellon. It is at least the second check that Mellon has written to an Edwards-affiliated entity. The first, for $250,000, came in 2006, to the One America independent group, which helped support Edwards’s political efforts between his presidential bids.

“These latest revelations make it clear why Edwards was able to announce that he could accept public funds while still spending all he needed to spend in Iowa,” wrote Obama campaign manager David Plouffe in memo released Saturday morning. “His campaign simply exploited the biggest loophole in the campaign finance system in order to get public matching funds while arranging through allies to benefit from a 527. That’s how they avoided the spending limits that are a condition of the public matching funds.”

Edwards invoked the Mellon family name a month ago, and for very different reasons, when a New Hampshire voter at a town-hall meeting in Bow asked about the last time a president stood up to powerful, wealthy forces in America.

“The ones who are best known are not recent,” Edwards said. “I mean Teddy Roosevelt did it, he did it very clearly, and he did it, I might add, in a time where there was a huge concentration of wealth and power, because he was back in the days when — you know, some people refer to it as the Gilded Age — back in the period where, you know, the Rockefellers and the Mellons and the Carnegies, all these people, owned most of America or a big chunk of America, and they used their money and power to dominate what was happening in the government and to dominate what was happening in the economy.

“If we continue in the cycle — which is what’s happening now — if we continue in the cycle where what we do is we try to see, you know, who can raise the most money from whomever they can get it from to win this election and then be beholden to the people who helped them, nothing will change. That’s my whole point. Nothing will change.”

I’ve also noted another recent report suggesting that the Edwards campaign might have been coordinating efforts with a 527 group supporting him.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    capt says:

    It is good to know who gets what money from whom. Until we get the mountains of money out of our political system we will have large donors.

    Is it bad if some of the very wealthy are concerned enough about the future of the country to give money to a candidate that claims to want a better future? Makes as much sense as citizens voting against their best financial interests in favor of Bush – twice.

    I think it is good to know as much as we can about the candidates. The issue in the post doesn’t effect my opinion of Edwards – that might be just me.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    It does put Edwards’ criticism of the other candidates in a different light when he has sources such as this. The coordination of the money through a 527 is also rather questionable.

  3. 3
    capt says:

    The coordination of the money through a 527 is also rather questionable.

    If there is coordination. That seems yet to be reported.

    Do you have anything more solid than the supposition of coordination previously reported?

    I find most two-faced rank hypocrisy from politicians of all stripes all too predictable.

    I hold most all politicians in low regard and am never surprise by their crud.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    See the emails reported by the New York Times. When combined with this report it looks extremely suspicious.

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