- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

In a June 2003 speech, during his first run for the Democratic presidential nomination, John Edwards lambasted the Bush-Cheney administration. “These guys are making it tougher for working dads to get $400 from an earned income tax credit,” he said, “while they’re letting corporations shield $40 billion in offshore tax havens.” He continued his attack on offshore tax havens as vice presidential nominee during the October 2004 debate with Vice President Cheney. “When [Mr. Cheney] was CEO of Halliburton, they took advantage of every offshore loophole available. They had multiple offshore companies that were avoiding taxes,” Mr. Edwards said. “Those are the kind of things that ought to be closed,” he insisted. “They ought to be closed. They ought to be closed for anybody. They ought to be closed whether they’re personal, and they ought to be closed whether they apply to a corporation.” Six months into the Bush-Cheney administration’s second term, Mr. Edwards was still delivering his “two Americas” speech, lamenting the “two different economies in this country: one for wealthy insiders and then one for everybody else.”

After losing at the polls and labeling opponents “wealthy insiders,” Mr. Edwards, who always describes himself as the “son of a mill worker,” jumped at the opportunity to become a “wealthy insider.” In October 2005 he took a job as a consultant to Fortress Investment Group, a hedge-fund operation with $30 billion in assets. As a recent front-page story in The Washington Post reported, Fortress is a New York-based firm whose “hedge funds were incorporated in the Cayman Islands, enabling its partners and foreign investors to defer or avoid paying U.S. taxes.” Citing the firm’s initial filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in November, when Mr. Edwards still worked for the company, The Post reported that the firm revealed that all its hedge funds and many of its private equity funds were established offshore. “Our liquid hedge funds, our offshore hybrid hedge funds and many of our private equity funds are incorporated or formed under the laws of the Cayman Islands,” the filing said.

Just as the global-warming-obsessed Mr. Edwards has refused to make public the heating and cooling bills for his 28,200 square-foot compound in North Carolina (while insisting that he and his wife live “carbon-neutral” lifestyles), he and his campaign would not divulge how much he earned while advising this offshore tax haven. “John Edwards believes offshore tax havens are wrong,” his spokeswoman told The Post. According to the hypocritical standards of Mr. Edwards, it is OK to personally profit from offshore tax havens after spending years criticizing them and demanding that they be closed down. The key is to quit advising the hedge fund for “wealthy insiders” the same month (December) you don a pair of jeans and a workshirt to announce your presidential intentions in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.

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