Edwards facing federal probe for using campaign money to pay off mistress
posted at 9:29 am on May 4, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
There are two Americas after all. In one, people pay off mistresses with their own money, while in the other, the very wealthy ironically use other people’s money to do it. Federal investigators have begun probing John Edwards’ campaign records to see whether he broke the law in paying off Rielle Hunter, the mistress and apparently the mother of his youngest child:
John Edwards marched toward the White House in 2006 seeking an arsenal of millions collected a little at a time.
He also gathered more ammunition, about $11 million, collected in larger chunks by nonprofit groups conceived and operated to further his aspirations. He also courted a girlfriend.
Federal investigators are trying to connect those dots, sifting through Edwards’ financial records to probe whether he used any donations solicited for his campaign to keep quiet his affair with Rielle Hunter. …
Records show that Hunter was paid by a political action committee aligned with Edwards. She received $114,000 to film Edwards as he hopscotched the nation to rally crowds in the fight against poverty. She followed him to Uganda, where he met with starving children orphaned by attacks by rebel forces. Her “webisodes” live still on the Internet.
The investigation is being conducted by the office of U.S. Attorney George Holding, and a federal grand jury could consider evidence.
Over the last few years, Edwards helped promote political populism, but he was always an unlikely banner-carrier for that effort. He make hundreds of millions of dollars for himself first as a personal-injury lawyer, and then later working for a hedge fund, one of the big class-warfare targets of the Left. He railed about “two Americas” while he built a 28,000-square-foot mansion for himself. And he preached about universal health care, exploiting his wife’s illness on the campaign trail, while betraying her with one of his aides.
His wife Elizabeth continues to fight cancer, and in her memoir recalls that she threw up when Edwards told her of his betrayal — and predictably lied about the extent of the affair. The rest of Edwards’ supporters should be throwing up as well, if the investigation concludes that Edwards paid off Hunter with campaign funds. The rest of us found ambulance-chasing populism nauseating from the beginning.