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    Thursday, July 08, 2004

    Foxy Edwards: Walter Olsen says that John Edwards is a crafty operator:

    The GOP’s criticisms will perhaps be tinged with envy, though, because Mr. Edwards is now certain to place at Kerry’s disposal one of the most fabulous political fund-raising machines in all history. That lawyer-driven machine did extremely well for Mr. Edwards in the primaries; the only reason it didn’t do even better is that it ran into the ceilings imposed by federal election finance law, which limit donations from individual donors to $2,000. In fact, Mr. Edwards raised a bigger proportion of his campaign war chest in $2,000 donations than any of his Democratic rivals.The list of donors who maxed out included not only the expected plaintiff’s attorneys and their spouses, but also a roster of low-paid paralegals, receptionists, and other support staffers of law firms along with their spouses — even though (as an investigation for the Hill revealed) some of the staffers had recently suffered bankruptcies and other personal financial reverses and some were not recorded as having voted in years.

    “In many instances, all the checks from a given firm arrived on the same day — from partners, attorneys, and other support staff,” reported The Hill. The law-firm employees duly denied that their employers had signaled any willingness to reimburse the donations — that would constitute a violation of federal law, after all. But pursuing the money trail was not easy, since Mr. Edwards, alone among major candidates, refused to disclose the identities of the big financiers who bundled checks for him, a stance that drew fire from places like the editorial page of the Washington Post.

    Impressively, throughout all this, Mr. Edwards managed to make a personal selling point of his proclaimed freedom from entanglement with those dreadful special interests. It’s in the field of rhetoric that the senator’s career skill in jury persuasion really comes through for him. As journalist Stuart Taylor Jr. puts it, Mr. Edwards sounds as if he really, truly believes “that behind every misfortune there must be a wealthy villain” — at the grand level of national policy just as in the particulars of an individual client’s calamity. It’s as if Michael Moore checked into a spa and finishing school and emerged with good looks and polished manners: No wonder party activists swoon.

    And here's more on the presumptive Democratic vice-presidential candidate, over at EdwardsWatch. (via PointofLaw.)

    UPDATE: And he's uncommonly crafty when it comes to investing, too:

    During the buildup and aftermath of the Iraq war, Edwards bought and sold stock in several defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, United Technologies, General Electric, British Petroleum, and General Dynamics.

    (via Tim Blair.)


    posted by Sydney on 7/08/2004 10:31:00 AM 0 comments


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