- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In April, when John Edwards announced his plan to fight predatory lending, he charged that the increase in subprime mortgages in recent years had contributed to last year’s 42 percent rise in foreclosures, which are “devastating communities.” Subprime mortgages, which are extended to borrowers with poor credit histories or insufficient financial resources to qualify for standard mortgages, carry higher interest rates, higher fees and onerous penalties. These “shameful lending practices,” said Mr. Edwards, who had founded the now-defunct anti-poverty Center for Promise & Opportunity after losing in 2004, “are compromising our strength as a nation.”

This month, Mr. Edwards revealed that he had holdings worth more than $11 million in Fortress Investment Group, a $30 billion hedge-fund operator that paid Mr. Edwards $479,000 as a part-time consultant from October 2005 through December 2006. Fortress incorporated its hedge funds in the Cayman Islands as offshore tax havens, a policy that Mr. Edwards has condemned for years. Fortress has also invested billions and billions of dollars purchasing subprime mortgage portfolios, subprime mortgage lenders and subprime mortgage-servicing firms.

Meanwhile, in a story titled “John Edwards’ Convenient Nonprofit,” Business Week reports that Mr. Edwards conveniently hired staffers who previously worked as his political operatives and would return to his current presidential campaign in that capacity. As Mr. Edwards was raking in nearly half a million dollars as a consultant for the offshore hedge funds deeply invested in subprime mortgages, his anti-poverty center was also doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to consultants. In 2005 alone, the center spent $259,000 on consultants whom Mr. Edwards now refuses to name. Hypocrisy knows no boundaries.

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