SODOM & GOMORRAH: John Edwards faces 30 years for allegedly using campaign funds to cover up his affair with his mistress. Technically he didn’t break the law.
John Edwards probably isn’t a very decent person. There are probably several types of sociopathic disorders that describe a person who cheats on their wife while she’s dying from cancer. John Edwards is accused by federal prosecutors of using up to $1 million in campaign funds which were contributed from wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress.
The Edwards trial has been heating up as the jury was forced to listen to the dramatic tale of Elizabeth Edwards’ reaction to the affair in which she confronted her husband in the parking lot of an airport, collapsed in a heap, and tore open her shirt and bra. The overall impact of this was devestating to the daughter, Cate Edwards, who left the courtroom in tears and was no doubt an attempt to make John Edwards look evil.
But being evil and breaking the law are two separate things in a country where laws are often divorced from morality. What John Edwards did was clearly attrocious (I would contend that making the trial about his affair instead of about the cover up is also attrocious), but it doesn’t seem to be technically illegal. Campaign finance laws dictate that a candidate may only use money donated to him to benefit and promote their political campaign. Prosecutors are saying that Edwards violated the law by using the money to cover up a person indiscretion.
Realistically, if the truth about his pregnant girlfriend came to light, it would have had an adverse effect on his campaign. I would contend that using campaign funds to conceal a scandal that would knock Edwards out of the race for president is a perfectly legal use of the money. To not spend the money would be to irreversibly damage his chances for the presidency.
Cheating on your wife isn’t illegal in the United States; in fact, it’s a hallmark of the American political culture. Lying about it, even with money, is an ordinary event, certainly not deserving of 30 years in prison.