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According to an article in Harpers, now that John Edwards is no longer a viable candidate for president, he has shut down the non-profit organization that was (ostensibly) established to help poor people. The article also points out that the organization seemed to be more about advancing his political aims than helping poor people.

Here are some snips from the article.

Harpers excerpted this one from a NYT article from June, 2007:

   The organization, the Center for Promise and Opportunity, raised $1.3 million in 2005, and — unlike a sister charity he created to raise scholarship money for poor students — the main beneficiary of the center’s fund-raising was Mr. Edwards himself, tax filings show...

   The organization became a big part of a shadow political apparatus for Mr. Edwards after his defeat as the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004 and before the start of his presidential bid this time around. Its officers were members of his political staff, and it helped pay for his nearly constant travel, including to early primary states.

   While Mr. Edwards said the organization’s purpose was "making the eradication of poverty the cause of this generation," its federal filings say it financed "retreats and seminars" with foreign policy experts on Iraq and national security issues. Unlike the scholarship charity, donations to it were not tax deductible, and, significantly, it did not have to disclose its donors — as political action committees and other political fund-raising vehicles do — and there were no limits on the size of individual donations.

They grabbed this from the Raleigh News Observer:

   Edwards’ presidential hopes have evaporated. And he recently informed Greene County officials that he would end the pilot program at Greene Central High School. "We sent a communication out to upcoming seniors and their parents," said Randy Bledsoe, principal of Greene Central High. "Some are saddened that the opportunity is not going to be there for their children. But we’ve had a lot of positive reaction over the years."

   Edwards started the "College for Everyone" pilot program at Greene Central High in 2005, shortly after he was the Democratic vice presidential nominee. It was a privately funded effort designed to increase the number of students at a rural high school who attend college. The program provided the cost of tuition, fees and books at a public college for one year. In exchange, students had to work at least 10 hours a week while in college, take college preparatory courses in high school and stay out of trouble.

Harpers sums it up:

Incidentally, it doesn’t look like Edwards’ Center for Promise and Opportunity Foundation did any other notable anti-poverty work, and the group itself appears to be largely defunct. The foundation has no website and after examining tax records, my colleague Sebastian Jones determined that it was largely indistinguishable from the College for Everyone program.

My take... beware the populist.

Originally posted to mdb on Mon Aug 11, 2008 at 09:16 AM PDT.

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