When the one-term Senator left office in 2005 he was faced with a challenge…what to do with his life. Most people believed from that time that Edwards was going to be a presidential contender in 2008. He needed to do something in those years that would show that he is worthy of being our President. Instead of taking a stint on “Law and Order” Edwards worked to establish issue oriented agencies to take a leadership role in stopping the thing that he believes is the true scourge of our society…POVERTY.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way: John Edwards did travel at the expense of the organization. He has declined to disclose the identity of the donors (most non-profits do this to protect the privacy of the donor, an idea foreign to the world of politics). The NYTimes quotes former IRS sources stating that Edwards did not break any laws. None of the allegations constitute crimes or even abnormal behavior.
Now the positives:
"All of this was an effort to try to deal with the issue of poverty in America, which is the cause of my life," he said. "What I've been doing is not only significant and there's nothing wrong with it, it's something I'm very proud of. Everything we did was not only completely legal but we did a lot of good."
Edwards traveled to 10 college campuses helping to organize “Opportunity Rocks” chapters on those campuses. The chapters were to bring together students who wanted a chance to make a difference in their communities and facilitate those opportunities. The Center for Promise and Opportunity Foundation has given away $300,000 in scholarships and on track for $500,000 more. The CPO and Opportunity Rocks also recruited and helped fund trips for college students to help out the STILL Katrina ravaged New Orleans.
A few years ago I applied for a job with a non-profit. During the course of the interview the director explained that they were re-organizing the agency to comply with tax laws. They were previously only a 501(c)3, but they were also adding a 501(c)4 and a 527 so that they could accomplish all of their goals, but were run by the same person. As complicated as the tax code is, it is often true that many organizations must be created to reach one goal.
No one, least of me, would say that John Edwards was not running for President starting from the end of his Vice-Presidential bid. It’s just that, in the meantime, he “walked the walk” and worked to end poverty.
Cross posted at BlueNC.