The obvious answer in this witch hunt is “no, he did not break the law”, according to legal scholars all over the place, even Republicans. Even if he “KNEW”, the payments are still personal gifts because they likely would have been paid even if he wasn’t running for President.
Instead of bringing contrived charges against Edwards and making up violations as they go along, maybe the Obama administration should stop fighting with all they have here an abroad to keep Bush & Cheney out of court for the many violations of domestic & international law that they committed (for example), and do something to stop money from deciding US elections. But then again, this “Democratic” administration has doubled down and beefed up many of those Bush programs, so that’s not going to happen.
Bush, Rove, and Alberto Gonzales fired US attorneys if they wouldn’t target Democrats (e.g., David Iglesias). Even this “protector-of-Bush/Cheney” administration has called Bush’s behavior “inappropriate”, but not criminal. George Holding wasn’t fired, for obvious reason. What he was, was a law clerk for Terrence Boyle, a racist right-wing judge that Edwards placed a hold on, who never got appointed to the US Court of Appeals because of it, also limiting Holding’s prospects at the time. Personal vendetta, anyone?
Being a “scumbag” is not against the law, and whether or not someone “deserves what [they] get” only matters if we live in a country of men instead of laws, which we obviously do. Wouldn’t be surprised either way.
Great article from TheNation breaking down the specifics of the “laws” that Edwards “allegedly” broke: http://www.thenation.com/blog/161158/did-john-edwards-break-law
John Paul Stevens’ dissenting opinion in Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission should be required reading at universities.
Here’s my favorite part. It’s so good, I memorized the bolded portion.
Today’s decision is backwards in many senses. It elevates the majority’s agenda over the litigants’ submissions, facial attacks over as-applied claims, broad constitutional theories over narrow statutory grounds, individual dissenting opinions over precedential holdings, assertion over tradition, absolutism over empiricism, rhetoric over reality. Our colleagues have arrived at the conclusion that Austin must be overruled and that §203 is facially unconstitutional only after mischaracterizing both the reach and rationale of those authorities, and after bypassing or ignoring rules of judicial restraint used to cabin the Court’s lawmaking power. Their conclusion that the societal interest in avoiding corruption and the appearance of corruption does not provide an adequate justification for regulating corporate expenditures on candidate elections relies on an incorrect description of that interest, along with a failure to acknowledge the relevance of established facts and the considered judgments of state and federal legislatures over many decades.
In a democratic society, the longstanding consensus on the need to limit corporate campaign spending should outweigh the wooden application of judge-made rules. The majority’s rejection of this principle “elevate(s) corporations to a level of deference which has not been seen at least since the days when substantive due process was regularly used to invalidate regulatory legislation thought to unfairly impinge upon established economic interests.” Bellotti , 435 U. S., at 817, n. 13 (White, J., dissenting). At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.
I would affirm the judgment of the District Court.
Full Text can be found here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZX.html