Assignment Desk: Alliance for a New America, Rachel Mellon, Alexander Forger, and John Edwards

by Ted Frank on December 30, 2007

The Alliance for a New America is an “independent” campaign organization running television ads in Iowa on behalf of John Edwards—whose ability to spend money himself in Iowa is restricted because he is taking taxpayer money as campaign funds (all while bashing other candidates for taking money from “lobbyists”, even as he takes millions from trial lawyers and his finance chair is the former head of lobbying group ATLA).

Via Kaus, though Paul Krugman calls the Alliance for a New America a “labor 527″, it turns out that a third of its money comes from Rachel Mellon, of the Mellon family fortune. (Though one wonders why Krugman is willing to defend the 527 as a labor 527. It’s not like SEIU, which also heavily funds the Alliance for a New America, doesn’t lobby the government for special-interest legislation. If, as Edwards says, lobbyists are bad, they don’t suddenly become good because you agree with them. And if lobbyists you do agree with are good, then why isn’t the issue the underlying policy proposal rather than the fact of the lobbying, as Edwards tries to demagogue?)

Here’s the thing: Mellon is 96 years old. There are certainly competent 96-year-olds out there, and it’s possible that Mellon really likes John Edwards. But what we do know is that a New York trust attorney who holds the power of attorney for Mellon and the Mellon-related LLC that is fronting the money is a big fund-raiser for Edwards. Does Mellon know that she’s funnelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to John Edwards through her attorney through multiple 527s? Or is there something else going on? One expects Obama to complain:

According to the available records, which go back to 1980, she has never donated to a political candidate until a contribution was made in her name to John Edwards this year. Mellon’s involvement in the decision to donate to the Edwards campaign is unknown. The Washington Post reported yesterday that Alexander Forger, who has power for attorney for Mrs. Mellon, is a major supporter of John Edwards’ candidacy. Crain’s Business Journal reported in February that Forger and “a group of prominent New York lawyers” hosted a fund-raiser for Edwards at Essex House — the Central Park South address where his office is located. Forger has also personally donated $4,600 to Edwards’ campaign, according to FEC records. This is not the first time Forger has used Oak Springs Farms to support Edwards; in 2006, he made a $250,000 contribution to Edwards’ One America 527 group.

And even Daily Kos is asking questions.

(If there is something fishy, it wouldn’t be the first time lawyers have engaged in campaign finance shenanigans for John Edwards. See the case of Tab Turner. There’s the pending Fieger indictment, though Edwards and Fieger profess innocence. And Edwards still hasn’t returned all of the Milberg Weiss money, despite several guilty pleas and a pending indictment.)

Speaking of Edwards and demagoguery: he’s dropped references to the Mellons from his stump talks.

{ 4 comments }

1 JJ 12.30.07 at 3:29 pm

His last name is Forger…

2 Mac-101 01.01.08 at 8:52 am

Forger! What do you expect from a lawyer, honesty?

3 Peter Nordberg 01.01.08 at 9:22 pm

On John Edwards I offer no opinion.

But “demagogue”? Not a verb. I don’t care how many times it’s used that way. To me, it will never be a verb.

4 Ted 01.01.08 at 11:13 pm

1) Facetious response choice 1: It’s a perfectly cromulent word.

2) Facetious response choice 2: Do you also insist people say “inflammable” instead of “flammable”?

3) Serious response: I don’t believe language is static. Verbifying nouns when there is not an existent English verb to convey the same concept is acceptable in my eyes. At least one dictionary agrees.

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