Edwards: I May Be a Lying Bastard, but I'm No Felon

It is not a crime to have an affair while your wife is dying of cancer, father a child with your mistress, and persistently deny both the affair and the child until forced to come clean when the guy who pretended to be the father finally admits the ruse. It is not even a crime to have such an affair while you are running for president. What is a crime, say federal prosecutors, is using your rich friends' money to conceal the affair by paying for your mistress's medical treatment, travel, and housing. According to an indictment announced on Friday, John Edwards violated federal campaign finance laws by soliciting nearly $1 million from two supporters of his campaign, Rachel Mellon and Fred Baron, to cover the cost of keeping Rielle Hunter and her baby out of sight. The indictment says "EDWARDS knew that public revelation of the affair and pregnancy would destroy his candidacy by, among other things, undermining EDWARDS' presentation of himself as a family man and by forcing his campaign to divert personnel and resources away from other campaign activities." Since revealing the affair would have hurt Edwards' campaign by destroying a carefully constructed facade of domestic bliss, the government says, that money was something of value "given to influence a federal election," which means Mellon (who gave $725,000) and Baron (who gave $200,000) far exceeded the individual campaign contribution limit of $2,300. Hence the various felony charges, involving conspiracy, illegal payments, and false statements, that together threaten the former North Carolina senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee with up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

Edwards says, in effect, "I may be a lying bastard, but I'm no felon." He argues that he sought to hide his affair from his wife rather than voters, for personal rather than political reasons. The Justice Department says the contribution limit "applies to anything of value provided for the purpose of influencing a federal election," including "payments for personal expenses of a candidate unless those payments would have been made irrespective of his/her candidacy." Suppose that Mellon bought John Edwards a $2,400 haircut. That would have been fine if she did it out of personal affection and if it is the sort of thing she would have done regardless of Edwards' political plans. But if she was thinking how important it is for a presidential candidate to be perfectly coiffed, according to the Justice Department, accepting her payment would be a crime. Edwards' guilt hinges on what Mellon (who is over 100) and Baron (who is dead) were thinking when they wrote their checks and on counterfactual speculation about whether they would have been so generous had Edwards not been running for president. Putting aside the question of whether there should be limits on campaign contributions, this theory seems pretty hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt—except that a jury is apt to hold Edwards' contemptible personal behavior against him.

Edwards has lined up a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, Scott E. Thomas, who says the indictment is based on a "novel and misguided theory." Rick Hasen, an expert on election law at U.C.-Irvine, says the theory is "plausible" but "is not going to be an easy case for the government to make." While both Common Cause and the Campaign Legal Center welcome the prosecution, Melanie Sloan of the Center for Responsibility and Ethics deems it "a silly case," saying, "John Edwards is horrible, but it doesn't mean they should be prosecuting him criminally."

Jeff Taylor notes that Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger "used public dollars (via public employees and facilities they controlled) to hide their extramarital affairs and protect their 'presentations,'" which "has to be a greater affront to civic order" than relying on the help of rich friends. Taylor also points out that Edwards' phoney-baloney Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill apparently was perfectly legal, even though it used millions of dollars in unrestricted and undisclosed donations to keep his political prospects alive after the 2004 election.

The indictment is here. ABC News has a helpful "scandal timeline" here.

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  • Greg Cosmos||

    Isn't Edwards worth high 8 figures? I don't understand why he didn't just pay the money himself. I'm sure he could have figured out a way to hide that as much or better than he hid the payments from supporters.

  • ||

    I think he wanted to hide it from his wife.The Feds take every law and strech it way beyond it's original intent,RICO,drug law,the patriot act,ect.If you've done nothing wrong yet are dumb enough to talk to them you better get every detail right.Of course,if you look at his leagl practice,he did much the same to earn millions with little evidence.I the the Germans have a word for this.

  • ||

    "Leave it to the Germans to take something perfectly nice and make it sound bad"

    -Homer Simpson.

  • ||

    I don't know why he didn't just pull a Gingrich and married Hunter. She isn't bad looking and seems much preferable to Elizibeth Edwards.

  • SIV||

    ^THIS^

    I'm happy for her that he didn't.

  • ||

    Since revealing the affair would have hurt Edwards' campaign by destroying a carefully constructed facade of domestic bliss, the government says, that money was something of value "given to influence a federal election,"

    versus

    He argues that he sought to hide his affair from his wife rather than voters, for personal rather than political reasons.

    Sounds like an issue of credibility and intent. Exactly what we have juries for.

    I still find it strange that giving more than a few thousand dollars to a candidate's campaign fund apparently causes unacceptable undue influence, but giving hundreds of thousands of dollars directly to (or on behalf of, same diff) the candidate apparently raises no such concerns.

  • Fluffy||

    but giving hundreds of thousands of dollars directly to (or on behalf of, same diff)

    Not it is not the "same diff".

    That's like saying that if I go home tonight and fuck my wife I should be arrested for raping my neighbor. Because the mere fact that we're talking about completely different people is "no big diff".

  • ||

    Edwards solicited the money, so you can't pretend it wasn't donated for his benefit.

    The only question is, what type of benefit was he soliciting it for.

  • Fluffy||

    Who's pretending that?

    Not me.

    But unless there is some kind of pre-arranged agreement for the third party to later pass the money on to Edwards, my position is that by devising the arrangement this way Edwards wins and it's too fucking bad.

    Because the FEC doesn't get to tell me I can't send Rielle Hunter a gift. Fuck them, and fuck this prosecutor.

  • ||

    So if you hire a prostitute, but don't pay her directly -- rather, you pay her pimp who agrees not to beat her up and steal her drugs -- does that make you not guilty of solicitation?

  • Fluffy||

    It might make you a party to extortion, but surely you realize that arguing with me by referring to another crime I don't recognize really isn't effective?

    How about if I realize that some chick really likes the opera, so I make a big donation to the local opera house and, suitably impressed, the girl decides to sleep with me. Have I committed solicitation? Has she committed prostitution?

    That's the problem with laws that attempt to criminalize basic economic exchanges. They're easily evaded by arrangements that avoid a direct exchange. But since the state doesn't LIKE IT when people evade their bogus laws, the state continually has to spread the reach of its definition of criminality wider and wider, to take in a larger and larger set of exchanges that are "evading" its original law.

    And that's crap.

  • ||

    It might make you a party to extortion, but surely you realize that arguing with me by referring to another crime I don't recognize really isn't effective?

    We have been assuming for the sake of argument that the campaign finance laws are in place and just and constitutional etc. So address my example without getting into whether prostitution should be legal.

    That's the problem with laws that attempt to criminalize basic economic exchanges.

    Assuming you're against contract killing being legal, you're not opposed to all laws that criminalize economic exchange. So you can't just wish these things away.

  • Fluffy||

    Assuming you're against contract killing being legal, you're not opposed to all laws that criminalize economic exchange.

    I'm only opposed to contract killing because of the third party involved - the dead guy.

    The economic exchange part isn't the problem.

    So address my example without getting into whether prostitution should be legal.

    Actually, I had never thought of it before now, but if the pimp pays the prostitute, then that transitivity creates a payment from me to the prostitute.

    If I was to devise some way of making a payment where nothing but a "benefit" made its way to the prostitute, then I wouldn't consider that solicitation. Because if it is, then just about every joke ever told about girlfriends and wives being the same as prostitutes just came true.

  • emerson||

    ^^^this

  • ||

    Solicitation is never illegal.

  • ||

    Sorry, Fluffy, but paying money to "or on behalf of" somebody are pretty much one and the same for our purposes here, especially when that somebody has solicited the payment. Either way, the payment is for their benefit. And that's what counts.

  • Fluffy||

    No, what counts is that you can't criminalize Edwards' action without determining first that it's a criminal act for me to give Rielle Hunter a gift.

    In a free country.

  • ||

    Your feeble attempt at a reductio ad absurdum fails at the outset since Baron and Mellon aren't being prosecuted.

  • Fluffy||

    That just makes the legal theory that much more absurd.

  • MJ||

    What happens if President Edwards does you a polical favor in return for your giving Rielle Hunter a gift?

    More than just a simple campaign donation, what was done here smacks more of an outright laundered bribe.

  • ||

    but giving hundreds of thousands of dollars directly to (or on behalf of, same diff) the candidate apparently raises no such concerns.

    Remember when joe defended Reid for getting real estate deals in Nevada?

    Good times.

  • ||

    Remember when joe said the media shouldn't be covering this story because Edwards was a "nobody" and it was a few months after the of the Democratic primary Edwards was part of?

    I do.

  • SIV||

    What wingnut site did you get that from?

  • ||

    That's nuts. I recall him defending Edwards as a great VP candidate. Nobody = great?

  • ||

    I never forget. Never.

  • ||

    Commenter accountability.

    For instance, I once said Obama couldn't win in 2008 (usual reasons--no track record, seemed like an empty shirt, etc.). Because I underestimated the degree of self-delusion voters are capable of. I'd like to say I won't make that mistake again, but I bet I will.

  • ||

    Because I underestimated the degree of self-delusion voters are capable of.

    Nah.

    You underestimated the amount of Bush hate.

  • ||

    Unfortunately it seems to have been hate mostly directed at Bush's person rather than his policies.

  • proegg antichicken||

    a City Councilor in Wilkes-Barre had an affair

    Ohh, juicy!

  • cynical||

    "Exactly what we have juries for."

    You don't think the jury will use the opportunity to punish him for his legal but unethical behavior?

  • Martha Stewart||

    Does that happen?

  • Fluffy||

    This just demonstrates that there is NO WAY to restrict contributions to political candidates during campaigns without, ultimately, chasing down and stomping on old ladies who buy some dingbat a gift.

    Basically what they are saying here is that although it might appear at first glance that you have the right to buy someone who is not a candidate for public office a gift just because it's a free country, you don't actually have that right if anyone anywhere can hypothesize that it might in some Butterly-effect way impact a political election.

  • ||

    If a candidate for public office asks you to buy someone else a gift -- in a way that will clearly benefit said candidate -- then you fall under the (stupid) campaign finance laws.

    This isn't a "butterfly effect" case. Edwards has his fingerprints all over this.

  • Paul||

    you don't actually have that right if anyone anywhere can hypothesize that it might in some Butterly-effect way impact a political election.

    This is essentially what McCain-Feingold shoved down the country's throat within the in-kind contribution doctrine: That your actions essentially contain value, and since value = money, and money is ipso facto regulated by the government, Edwards' actions were an in-kind contribution.

    Personally, I'm lovin' this Edwards prosecution. I'm gettin' out the popcorn.

  • ||

    I am finding it hard to give a shit when a scumbag politician gets fucked by the laws and rules he probably contributed to, or at the very least used in his favor. Much like Spitzer. Oops.

  • ||

    What continues to surprise me is that people didn't realize that this guy was a scumbag from the beginning. I recall some of the more rabid partisans around here defending him back when he ran, despite his professional history as a scam artist.

    He's probably not much worse than most people in politics, but his venality was always apparent.

  • ||

    Of course rabid partisans defended him. That's what scumbag partisans do. No matter how obvious his scumbaggery, they will go to the mat for their side, which is why they are so fucking disgusting. And then they will attempt to act like they never defended the scumbag. Aren't partisans great?

  • ||

    Fuck that. Someone should keep a list--People So Effed Up as to Support ____________________.

  • ||

    They should, but somehow people who support scumbags, or make predictions that are 100% wrong, continue to be taken seriously. Welcome to the world of partisanship.

  • ||

    It's not just in politics, of course. Without holding them accountable for their actions, we let people get away with the most ludicrous nonsense.

  • ||

    TEAM RED/TEAM BLUE!

  • ||

    In a related vein, I have an urge to target-vomit whenever I see Matt Millen on television. But he's freakin' ubiquitous.

  • robc||

    Put me on the list for both Pauls.

    Also, I support Jefferson and he turned out to be a slaver. Who knew?

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, this. I can see people maybe thinking that he might be an effective politician or something, but people actually seemed to believe that he was a good guy. Seemed pretty obvious from his debut on the national scene that he was a complete scumbag. He is just a caricature of everything people hate about lawyers.

  • Amakudari||

    I just never understood how people grokked his message about two Americas while his net worth was somewhere north of $30 million and he had the largest home in Orange County, a fairly affluent part of NC containing UNC.

  • ||

    He wanted two Americas. Parasites like him, victims like the rest of us.

  • ||

    It was pretty easy all along to figure it out, for those who cared to look. He was/is a functional sociopath.

  • Amakudari||

    His mug on a giant electronic billboard in Shibuya was the first I'd seen of my home state from overseas. I sent an email to a friend, a Team Blue former Edwards campaign worker whom I'd assumed had converted, about how that scumbag is now the only thing the Japanese know about NC.

    His email back, which featured "fuck" about a half-dozen times, was mostly about how if you ever -- ever -- try to help the poor, "they" will crush you. Wat.

    For a guy who wants to help the poor -- and unite our Two Americas -- he's sure spent a shit-ton of money on himself.

  • SIV||

    I was in NC for his '98 Senate campaign.
    I recognized Edwards immediately as a scumbag far worse than most politicians.

  • ||

    Worse?

    How is he worse then say Hilary? Or Obama? or Boner? or Bush?

    I just don't see it.

  • SIV||

    Worse as a person. Edwards aspired to be worse as an elected official but he failed. I may be incorrect in assuming those you mention are only lying assholes by profession, and not so much in their personal lives. If I'm mistaken it is only because they are better at it and once again, Edwards is "worse"

  • Alan||

    let's not forget that Edwards made his millions suing the tobacco companies - who, predictably, raised the price on cigarettes immediately after losing the case - which basically means that Edwards made his money by robbing poor people.

    But that's only the beginning of his sliminess.

  • Alan||

    let's not forget that Edwards made his millions suing the tobacco companies - who, predictably, raised the price on cigarettes immediately after losing the case - which basically means that Edwards made his money by robbing poor people.

    But that's only the beginning of his sliminess.

  • robc||

    I watched the 92 democratic "7 dwarves" primary and my immediate reaction was "Bill Clinton is the most scum-baggy politician I have ever witnesses...no one will vote for him."

    50/50.

  • Alan||

    Also in North Carolina. I couldn't believe he managed to become a senator, but you can sure bet that he was the main reason I didn't vote Kerry/Edwards in '04. (I ended up writing in Kerry/Cheney as the least bad option that year. I don't know if the board of elections accepted that, but I sure as hell wasn't going to vote for Bush OR Edwards.)

  • Paul||

    I recall some of the more rabid partisans around here defending him back when he ran, despite his professional history as a scam artist.

    Didn't he get a cursory pass from some libertarians because he did some work with the innocence project or some such post-conviction DNA testing thing?

  • ||

    Edwards screamed "scumbag" to me - I guess it was the slick persona.

    of course any politician who comes across as "too perfect" with a shiny smile and gladhandering about makes suspicious.

  • Mitt Romney||

    APPLE SAUCE AND GOOD DAY, SIR!

  • Paul||

    I am finding it hard to give a shit when a scumbag politician gets fucked by the laws and rules he probably contributed to, or at the very least used in his favor.

    This x1000.

    I'm in a cantankerous mood today... but my general opinion is the ultimate justice is those who passed the unjust law, suffer its unujst wrath.

  • ola||

    "Edwards' guilt hinges on what Mellon (who is over 100) and Baron (who is dead) were thinking....."

    Holy shit, you got to be kidding. I'd love to be on this jury. I hated Edward's campaign message and basically most things he stood for, but this is preposterous. Leave it up to a jury to figure out the intentions of a dead person, let alone someone over 100 years old? My prediction, he walks (and should).

  • SIV||

    Defendants like Edwards are why "trial by ordeal" was invented. It is a shame he gets the slap on the wrist of "trial by jury".

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I wish trial by combat would make a comeback. Michelle O could support it as a way to make the kids skinnier.

    Want a career in the legal system? Apply today for the Cumberland School of Law and Hand-to-hand combat!

  • sailor||

    I thought that was the point of campaign funds: to cover up affairs and bastards.

  • ||

    John Snow isn't Ned Stark's bastard. He's Liana Stark and Rhaeger Targaryen's son. How is this not obvious to everyone?

  • ||

    She must have hid it from Ned then. I remember him talking to the King about his sister and he gave no indication that she loved another man.

    Ned is nothing if not stupidly honest.

    Snow is Robert's son.

  • ||

    Snow has black hair not blond.

  • MJ||

    None of King Robert's kids have blond hair.

  • MJ||

    Where I suspect the story is going, Jon Snow having either a Targaryen or a Baratheon father would be politically useful when Dany finally gets to Westeros.

  • silent v||

    I haven't read past book one. Tell me that this is just your speculation and you aren't spoiling something that has appeared in a later book.

  • ||

    I don't think Epi read the books.

    He is only speculating like me.

  • ||

    Actually i thought for a awhile that Snow was the the first son of Cersei Lannister and Robert and that Ned somehow stole him away and faked the child's death when he got a fever...

    But then I re-watched the second episode and Ned was pretty clear that Snow was a Stark.

  • Brett L||

    Too little, too late. At this point, DoD could contain a full on dragons v. frost giants 6 chapter battle royale decided by who the krakens threw their weight behind and I would probably still be disappointed by the story arc.

  • ||

    former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, Scott E. Thomas, who says the indictment is based on a "novel and misguided theory."

    No fucking shit!!

    One thing that is odd is when gay closeted republicans get outed it is always the left wingers on this board who FREAK THE FUCK OUT!!! over their hypocrisy.

    I would like it to be noted that Edwards though a scum bag who supported campaign limits and reform does not deserve what he is getting.

  • Paul||

    I would like it to be noted that Edwards though a scum bag who supported campaign limits and reform does not deserve what he is getting.

    I disagree.

    Any politician that supported McCain/Feingold should be sentenced to five years hard labor. Then the law should be repealed.

  • ||

    Support the McCain Vietnam Repatriation Act today!

  • Paul||

    What is a crime, say federal prosecutors, is using your rich friends' money to conceal the affair by paying for your mistress's medical treatment, travel, and housing.

    Edwards voted for McCain-Feingold, supported it, and went further by noting that what's really needed are completely publicly funded elections.

    I support burning John Edwards at the stake using his legislative record as fuel for the fire.

  • SIV||

    I support burning John Edwards at the stake using his legislative record as fuel for the fire.

    That is too good for him.

  • sean||

    What legislative record? That pyre would not even singe the soles of his custom made italian loafers

  • Rielle Stupid||

    I have no comment. I just wanted to use that pun.

  • MattXIV||

    There's are two easy ways to demostrate intentions - correspondence from Edwards saying that he's soliciting the money in order to help with his campaign or correspondence or testimony from the parties donating the money that they were doing it to help his campaign.

    Based on the indictment, it seems that the procescution has a note from Mellon that explains her intentions in providing the funds:

    The timing of your telephone call on Friday was "witchy." I was sitting alone in a grim mood - furious that the press attacked Senator Edwards on the price of a haircut. But it inspired me from now on, all haircuts, etc., that are necessary and important for his campaign - please send the bills to me... It is a way to help our friend without government restrictions.

    The procescution may be hiding some context behind the ellipsis, but Mellon seems to have made their job a lot easier by writing down that she was looking for ways to cover campaign expenses.

  • Paul||

    It is a way to >

  • Paul||

    html fail...

    It is a way to help our friend without government restrictions.

    In kind contribution. We're done here.

  • Fluffy||

    I don't think correspondence from Mellon means anything, even using the twisted and tyrannical logic of the prosecutors in this case, unless there's correspondence showing that Edwards was aware of it and told Mellon to do this.

    Otherwise, I could write a letter to you right now saying that I am sending you a gift because I think it will help the Obama re-election campaign, and then after you cash my check we could turn it over to the prosecutors and ask them to arrest Obama.

  • MattXIV||

    If that were all the evidence, then it wouldn't be enough, but the prosecution claims Edwards explicitly asked Young to find someone to pay Hunter's expenses, Young received that letter, and then Young and Edwards then solicited money from Mellon. If the prosecution has the evidence to back that all up, then the only way that Edwards would not have been knowingly soliciting campaign contributions is if Young had concealed his reasoning why hitting up Mellon for money for Hunter would work, which seems pretty implausible -

  • Abdul||

    My sympathy meter for John Edwards is pegged at 0. The way the two donors lied about what they were doing suggests they knew it was probably illegal.

    Mellon sent her money through her decorator. The indictment said she listed items of furniture in the memo lines of checks — written in amounts of $10,000-$200,000 for "chairs," "antique Charleston table," and "book case" — to hide the true purpose. It said Baron gave an envelope with about $1,000 cash and a note that said, "Old Chinese saying: use cash, not credit cards!"

  • ||

    Speaking of Bastards...

    I have not read Game of Thrones but is it obvious to everyone that John Snow is King Roberts Son via Ned's sister? and not Ned Stark's but his Nephew and in fact the legitimate heir to the crown?

    If you read the book don't tell me.

  • ||

    Don't read above...

  • ||

    Dude, did you not read my comment above? Why do you think Robert hated the Targaryens so much? Because the woman he loved was in love with Rhaeger and not him.

    How is this not crystal clear to everyone?

  • ||

    The Targaryens have their silvery blond hair thing going. OTOH I don't remember if Liana is described as being dark or fair.

    Either way, I think Jon Snow is a red herring. Team Dany all the way.

  • ||

    Team Dany all the way.

    No team Dothraki horde supported by Targaryen Dragons burning King's Landing to the ground then turning north to meet the White Walker host and the end of the world.

  • ||

    Dude, read the first book really fast before the next episode. That is all.

    Dothraki raping and burning their way across the Seven Kingdoms would admittedly be pretty awesome.

  • ||

    Oh wait Dany is with the Dothraki...

    I thought Dany was the paralyzed Stark kid when I first responded.

  • ||

    Yeah, Dany is the exiled Targaryen girl. She and her Khal should totally rule the world and ride around on dragons eating horse hearts.

    I think it comes across pretty well in the show, but in the book their being so into each other and him being so good to her is very endearing.

  • ||

    Yeah, the show kind of fucked the wedding night and their relationship with the whole "Imma rape you on the beach while you cry" stuff.

  • ||

    I'm not sure I buy the Reason legal analysis of the basis of the charges. Isn't the solicitation by Edwards the fundamental component of the crime? If so, then it really doesn't matter what the intent of the donors was, it's what the intent behind Edwards' solicitation was.

    I mean, if he had never told anyone about this situation and his ex-paramour just came up to him one day and said that someone gave her $200000 to move somewhere else and then disappeared, would he still be guilty?

  • Paul||

    I'm not sure I buy the Reason legal analysis of the basis of the charges. Isn't the solicitation by Edwards the fundamental component of the crime?

    Yes. He was essentially asking for a campaign donation.

    The funds, service and effort put out by Edwards' 'friends' were essentially an in-kind contribution.

  • ||

    It's fair to assume that if Edwards had spent campaign money to buy Rielle Hunter's silence, the feds would have indicted him for improper use of campaign funds. Now that they've indicted him for doing exactly the opposite, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that they've just decided that to make "being a sleazeball" a federal felony.

  • ||

    Uh, how is this exactly the opposite? He hid his little embarrassment with money from someone else that he had access to because of his position as a politician. It's the same thing by other means, not the opposite.

  • Fluffy||

    It's exactly the opposite because the FEC regulations are all ultimately technical regulations.

    So if I read the regulations and say, "Hey, the regulation says I can't spend my campaign money this way. And I really want to obey this regulation, so I guess I won't spend any campaign money this way. I'll call my friend Tulpa, instead."

    They are basically making the attempt to technically comply with the regulation into a "criminal evasion" of the regulation, and that's BS.

    It's the same nonsense they accused Delay of.

  • Paul||

    The unjust and vague nature of the campaign finance regulations beg this very outcome. Don't tell me John Edwards didn't see this coming.

  • Fluffy||

    You can argue that Edwards is being hoisted on his own petard here, and that's fine.

    And that would be a valid thing to say, certainly.

    It doesn't rehabilitate the legal theory being offered as a legal theory, though.

  • Paul||

    It doesn't rehabilitate the legal theory being offered as a legal theory, though

    I'm obviously no lawyer, but I believe it does. I believe the very conceptual nature of the 'in-kind' campaign contribution makes the Edwards situation highly prosecutable.

    Donations of goods and service can be construed as an in-kind contribution. I agree that the prosecution may not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the goods and services that John Edwards received were for professional benefit as opposed to personal, but there is little arguing that he received those goods and services. The question will be left to the jury to decide if Edwards' claim is credible: That his campaign didn't benefit from the goods and services he received.

  • ||

    The way to comply with the regulation here wasn't to solicit his contributors to make additional payments on the side.

    It was to pay her off out of his own pocket.

    I do regulatory compliance all day every day. I hear what you're saying, but I don't think it necessarily washes in this case. My advice to him would have been to pay her off out of his own pocket, that arranging for third party supporters of his campaign to do so would be risky because those payments could easily be characterized as illegal conrtibutions that he solicited with the intent of evading the law.

    Cases like this are why we have juries. The jury can evaluate his credibility, and can look at the circumstances surrounding the payments, to determine if they were in fact done to advance his campaign.

  • The Gobbler||

    "I do regulatory compliance all day every day."

    all day, my dear, RC?

  • ||

    Yep. But not really every day. I exaggerated there.

  • ||

    You're talking about two different laws though. Giving Hunter money from campaign contributions violates one law; soliciting donors to give her money for your campaign's benefit violates another. You can't use one law as an excuse to break another.

    There was a completely legal path (actually several of them) for Edwards to deal with this situation, and he chose not to take them because he wanted to deceive the voters and his wife. Boo fucking hoo.

  • ||

    So are you arguing that Edwards could not legally "hid[e] his little embarrassment" with money from *anyone* else, since that money would have to either (1) be funneled through his campaign treasury (and therefore would have constituted expenditure of campaign funds for personal purposes) or (2) *not* be funneled through his campaign treasury (and thus would have constituted campaign spending that didn't go through the treasury--which is what he's now being prosecuted for)?

  • ||

    Bingo. You got it, Seamus. Since he was running for President at the time, any expenditures on his behalf are subject to scrutiny.

    Don't like it? You've got some options (a) Don't fucking run for President, and (b) Don't get your friends to pay hush money to hide your campaign-ending indiscretions.

    Its pathetic. This guy ran a campaign by trotting out his sick wife at every opportunity. Now he's running his criminal defense the same way.

  • T||

    That seems to be the theory under which they're prosecuting Blagojevich.

  • ||

    The way he could avoid being a felonious sleazeball would be to pay off his cootch out of his own pocket. Easy-peasy.

  • ||

    But then his wife would know -- and she didn't seem like the Hillary type who would be OK with the adultery so long as he kept himself in power.

    Not that that's an excuse to break the law, but it does explain his behavior to some extent.

  • ||

    Im an attorney in NC. He is a piece of shit. Although the case is tenuous at best I hope it goes to trial airing all his laundry regardless of whether it is overturned on appeal. Make him argue all of this was to hide it from his dying wife. That said, unfortunately, I am sure the govt will in time offer again misdemeanor pleas with no mandatory jail time. (So far they have offered plea to 3 misdemeanors but with jail time; ie, his attorneys being unable to argue for house arrest or probation).

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Edwards voted for McCain-Feingold and then argued that it didn't go far enough.

    Hoisted by his own petard, as they say.

    Etymology geek note: Petard is a variant of peter which means to break wind. Shakespeare loved a good fart joke, which makes him awesome.

  • The Gobbler||

    Break-wind Suderman?

  • MJ||

    "Petard" was also the term used for an early type of grenade. It's a simpler explanation than a mere fart joke. Though you can never put a double meaning past the Bard.

  • grammar nazi||

    Yes, and it's not "hoisted" but "hoist", an old word (variant?) that means "hurt".

    So the phrase is "hoist by his own petard", and it means "hurt by his own (explosive) device."

  • ||

    So not only is Edwards a lying shitbag who made his money trying medical malpractice suits, and who cheated on his wife while she was dying of cancer, rather clip the elderly for a few hundred thou than spend his own $30 million to "keep" his mistress and bastard child.

    AND he's a politician...

  • ||

    Damn, wish there was an edit...

    Meant to say, '...he clipped the elderly for a few hundred thou rather than spend any of his own $30 million to "keep" his mistress and bastard child.'

  • SIV||

    That's just the tip of the iceberg.

  • ||

    See, there's your problem... Edward told Hunter he was only using the tip as well, and look where that's gotten us.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    What did the leper say to the prostitute?

  • ||

    Why are there so few volunteers at the leper colony?

  • The Gobbler||

    Tip the keeper?

  • Zeb||

    I thought that was Jimmy Swagart.

  • ||

    Part of me laughs at this ambulance chaser getting his just desserts, but at the same time I feel just awful for his children who saw their destroyed, their mother die, and now they have to deal with their scumbag dad's show trial. It doesn't sit well in my stomach.

  • ||

    "saw their family destroyed" I meant to write.

  • Alan||

    Wade was the lucky one.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    See, Senator? You should have done something about those campaign finance laws while you could.

    // Ah! Schadenfreude!

  • ||

    One note on Edward's defense. The payments were made in 2007, but Elizabeth Edwards apparently wrote that she knew about the affair in 2006. That makes the "hide it from my wife" story a little harder to sell.

    He probably would have to argue that he was trying to hide his spawn from her, even though she knew about the affair. He'll probably squeeze out a few tears and say he was trying to spare her any additional pain. Who knows? The idiots on the jury might just fall for it.

  • adam||

    Just in case anyone had any sympathy for him because he's being prosecuted under a bullshit law, he voted for the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act, which makes up most of the counts against him: http://www.senate.gov/legislat.....ote=00054.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    This.

    Both houses, the Supreme Court, and the White House should each employ a man in a multi-colored motley and bells to go about the place tell the principals "Remember Cesar, thou art mortal" and "It can happen to you"

  • Alan||

    Where do I apply for that job?

    And, if they're feeling weakly do I get to "help" them along?

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