Edwards Campaign Linked to Trouble-Making 527 Group

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If this gets any major play, it could seriously undercut John Edwards’ pro-transparency, pro-clean government message.

In the final days before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, John Edwards has stepped up his criticism of outside organizations that spend money to influence elections, repeatedly disavowing a labor group that is blanketing Iowa with commercials supporting his candidacy.

“As for outside groups, unfortunately, you can’t control them,” Mr. Edwards said last weekend as he distanced himself from the actions of the group, known as a 527 for the section of the tax code it falls under. He would prefer the group “not run the ads,” he said.

But the Edwards campaign may have expected the support of the group, Alliance for a New America, set up by a local of the Service Employees International Union. An Oct. 8 e-mail message circulated among the union leaders who created the group suggests that they were talking with Edwards campaign officials about “what specific kinds of support they would like to see from us” just as they were planning to create an outside group to advertise in early primary states with “a serious 527 legal structure.”

From talking to Edwards supporters in Iowa, my understanding is that most of his support is due to his passion, his concern for the little guy, and his anti-corporate message. Maybe this new news won’t jeopardize that. But it certainly won’t help.

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