Was Mistress Rielle Hunter Hidden As a ‘Furniture Purchase’ in Edwards Campaign Finance Statements?

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

In addition to the $100,000 that it's already known John Edwards's One America campaign paid Rielle Hunter — the woman with whom the presidential candidate would go on to conduct an affair — to film documentary shorts of him, his fund-raising groups may have issued further payments under the table. That's what federal investigators are probing right now, according to reports over the weekend. Edwards himself has said he and his former employees are cooperating with the investigation, but that he's confident that "no funds from [his] campaign were used improperly." (Transactions involving other fund-raising organizations, including two nonprofits and a poverty center at his alma mater, are also being probed, according to the AP.) So far it's been reported that the Edwards Political Action Committee paid Hunter's firm $14,086.50 in April of 2007. While that itself is not illegal, it corresponds with a $14,034.61 payment that the Edwards campaign paid the PAC that very same day to cover a "furniture purchase." It is against the law to willfully convert PAC funds for personal use. Four more donations to the PAC in that period of time are also being investigated.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Edwards's book Resilience, which addresses her side of the ordeal, comes out next week. The book is about forgiveness and strength and moving on — which, as this investigation continues, probably won't be the dominant narrative going forward.

John Edwards faces federal investigation [AP]