Sunday, September 20, 2009

Criminalizing John Edwards 

The New York Times has a big story on the sordid denouement of John Edwards' career in "public service," which was never anything other than "Edwards service." There is a lot to chew on there and I have to run 5K this morning in the service of fighting melanoma, but this paragraph provoked a thought most of you will not agree with:

According to people familiar with the grand jury investigation, prosecutors are considering a complicated and novel legal issue: whether payments to a candidate’s mistress to ensure her silence (and thus maintain the candidate’s viability) should be considered campaign donations and thus whether they should be reported. When Mr. Edwards was running for president, and later when he still held out hope of a cabinet position in the Obama administration, two of his wealthy patrons, through a once-trusted Edwards aide, quietly provided Ms. Hunter with large financial benefits, including a new BMW and lodging, that were used to keep her out of public view.


Schadenfreude aside, every scandal, even a scandal at the behest of a creepy and repugnant politician, does not warrant a criminal case. Now, in our increasingly legalistic society it is almost always possible to prove a criminal case for something, and furthermore there is a certain underlying logic to the prosecutorial thinking here. That does not mean that it is a sensible use of scarce resources -- John Edwards is highly unlikely to commit this offense again, and even if he did, who really cares? One gets the sense that the main value of this case is to attract media attention for the lawyers involved, and prosecutors who enjoy the cameras always make me nervous.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Sep 20, 08:04:00 AM:

You're the lawyer, but I thought the violation was simple misuse of campaign funds, and the subsequent lies around that act. Perhaps a tax transgression.

Maybe next time someone is going to damage the 'viability' of a candidate that candidate can use funds to have them killed to maintain the silence.

Edwards is a piece of dogshit on the shoe of a bum, and he deserves all the exposure he can for this. Likewise his wife, whose cancer and suffering story is old and contrived. She's a wilfull accomplice. Expose the light, and hope these two rats just go away.  

By Anonymous Nancy, at Sun Sep 20, 08:21:00 AM:

I tend to agree that making a huge criminal case of this one seems like overkill, although I do not know all the facts. I am no fan of John Edwards, but there are witness problems in the matter (one big donor who is dead, the campaign aide who lied about being the baby's father and now has a book deal, Rielle Hunter herself who is waaay too interested in the matter). And there are children involved who already have to live with the fact that their father is a lying sack of %$#@ as well as an infant who will grow up in an age when she can Google all this sordid mess someday and get more than enough detail.

If the concern of the prosecution is to be sure no one else does this sort of thing with $$ in a campaign, I dare say the politicians are on notice. Fix the rules if need be. And then get busy doing something more important with our scarce resources than chasing the Breck Girl's zipper problems.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Sep 20, 08:33:00 AM:

Perhaps ypu're right. But Edwards made a mint terrorizing physicians whenever a bad baby was born. Karma. Of course Edwards was simply looking out for the average Joe. Arse.  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Sun Sep 20, 10:49:00 AM:

I agree with TigerHawk on this one. I already know Edwards (and his "aide" and his "mistress") are puddles of sewage. I don't need constantly to be reminded of it.

Additionally, there are limits on my time. I'd rather read about ongoing problems such as Mr Obama's latest failure/act of dishonesty, or about other things not yet hinted at in the various news sources.

It's time to let the business of Edwrds' perfidy go, unless there's new actual data--not just a new spin on existing data.

Eric Hines  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Sep 20, 10:53:00 AM:

If Holder will surpress the issue of Black Panthers terrorizing white voters, he'll kill any suit about Edwards for political reasons as well.
Any attention to Edwards has to include his success in suing doctors and hospitals, winning outrageous awards. Obama does not want emphasis on tort reform because he has no intention of stopping sleazy plaintiffs' attorneys; they are to be rewarded!
No, the federal propaganda machine and its workers in the captive media brothel will put a quick end to any official action against Edwards! BTW, did you know that his wife says she has cancer?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Sep 20, 11:09:00 AM:

I say we give him a real bad hair cut, take a picture, and put that on a big billboard in front of his house.  

By Blogger Trochilus, at Sun Sep 20, 11:32:00 AM:


You say,

"That does not mean that it is a sensible use of scarce resources -- John Edwards is highly unlikely to commit this offense again, and even if he did, who really cares?"

The question is not whether John Edwards would be likely to commit this sort of offense again, but whether others might take notice that it is okay to intentionally skirt campaign laws in this manner.

Regardless, I agree that to prosecute for anything other than a good solid fine slapped on the boy, might be a bit much.

Perhaps the prosecutors should consider extracting a plea and a solid fine -- if Edwards is interested in avoiding a lengthy trial -- and in addition, laying out all the sordid facts in the form of a presentment, as a deterrent to others getting such ideas in the future.  

By Blogger SR, at Sun Sep 20, 11:45:00 AM:

As if there is any deterrent that will prevent campaign contribution shenanigans.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sun Sep 20, 04:28:00 PM:


I've long thought that politics are as corrupt as they are because the criminal laws that govern elections, funding, and so forth are 'white collar.'

If voter fraud, bribery, graft, and so forth were punished like rape, murder, and grand theft, I daresay we'd have a let less of it. But as it stands, the temptations of playing dirty to obtain and retain power is worth the risk of a little time in a resort prison, especially if you have an organized (i.e. partisan) support system willing to repay you once you get out.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Sep 20, 09:07:00 PM:

So, if the press hadn't covered for him a year ago, he'd be in the clear now?
That's ironic.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Sep 21, 08:45:00 PM:

Didn't Edwards steer his Iowa supporters to Barry HO if they didn't have enough to get him a delegate?

Didn't him even being in Iowa cost Clinton the caucus?

Isn't Edwards the reason we suffer Barry HO today?  

Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?