News that John Edwards made an undisclosed sum as a "consultant" to a hedge fund, the very sort of investment vehicle designed only for the very rich, elicited this preposterous defense from him:
"Democrat John Edwards said Tuesday he worked for a hedge fund between presidential campaigns to learn about financial markets and their relationship to poverty - and to make money, too."
Tom Maguire is surely not the only person to find this explanation absurd: Must we endure 18 more months of this (and possibly four, or even eight years)? One of Bill Clinton's many infuriating aspects was his unshakable belief that that he could sell any BS, however outrageous, to the rubes. If Mr. Edwards is positioning himself as the say-anything heir to Mr. I Didn't Inhale, I can't bear to watch.
That said, although Edwards' answer is rubbish, his concept is sound - there really are socially responsible investment funds out there and I suspect an earnest pol could learn something about the interplay between financial markets and good intentions by working at one.
However, Edwards chose to go to work for Fortress Investment Group (10-K), a perfectly respectable and credible group that makes no claim at all to emphasizing social responsibility in its investing.
Whatever. Edwards wanted to add to his pile, and there is nothing wrong with that - I am quite sure $15-50 million (est.) ain't what is used to be. But please don't tell us this was just an exercise in continuing education.[/quote]
But the story is even worse for the already very wealthy Edwards. The hedge fund was headquarted in the Cayman Islands which meant that it was the very sort of tax dodge he and his cohorts in the Democrat party have consistently railed against:
A midsize but growing player in the hedge fund industry with more than $30 billion in assets, Fortress was the first hedge fund manager to go public, thereby subjecting itself to far more scrutiny. But it was an unusual choice of employment for Edwards, who for years has decried offshore tax shelters as part of his broader campaign to reduce inequality. While Fortress was incorporated in Delaware, its hedge funds were incorporated in the Cayman Islands, enabling its partners and foreign investors to defer or avoid paying U.S. taxes.
Fortress announced Edwards's hiring as an adviser in a brief statement in October 2005. Neither Edwards -- who ended his consulting deal when he launched his presidential campaign in December -- nor the firm will say how much he earned or what he did.
But his ties to Fortress were suggested by the first round of campaign finance reports released last week. They showed that Edwards raised $167,460 in donations from Fortress employees for his 2008 presidential campaign, his largest source of support from a single company.