Rielle Hunter Paid Off by Edwards PAC?

John Edwards’ mistress, Rielle Hunter, was paid $14,000 from his campaign PAC, the AP’s Pete Yost and David Scott report.

In this Dec. 27, 2006 photo provided by the National Enquirer, former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, D-NC, is shown with videographer Rielle Hunter in the 9th Ward of New Orleans, La. On Friday, Aug. 8, 2008, Edwards admitted to having an affair with Hunter. (AP Photo/The National Enquirer) Fred Baron, Edwards’ national finance chairman and a wealthy Dallas-based trial attorney, has acknowledged he quietly began sending money to Rielle Hunter, Edwards’ mistress, to resettle in California, along with the family of Andrew Young. Young is the campaign aide who has said he is the father of Hunter’s daughter, born after her affair with Edwards.


Meanwhile, an earlier payment of $14,000 to Edwards’ mistress from the candidate’s political action committee was exchanged for 100 hours of unused videotape she shot producing short Web movies for which she already had been paid $100,000, an Edwards associate told the AP. Neither Edwards’ advisers or this associate would discuss the purpose of the payment on the record.

That payment from Edwards’ OneAmerica political action committee, which came after Hunter stopped working for it, came in April 2007, months before Baron quietly began sending money himself to Hunter. Baron has described his payments to Hunter as a private transaction.


Baron’s payments could present legal problems, said Washington attorney Cleta Mitchell, who specializes in campaign finance law and who represents Republican candidates and conservative groups. She said all payments to anyone involved in Edwards’ presidential campaigns — including Hunter and Young — should have been fully disclosed under U.S. campaign finance laws. “That would undermine the purpose of the payments, which was to avoid public disclosure of the affair,” Mitchell said. “The idea that Edwards’ finance chairman can independently hand over substantial sums of money to two campaign workers at a time when Edwards is a candidate and to argue that that is not related to his campaign is a bit preposterous.”


Legal experts said it was important for Edwards to demonstrate the PAC wasn’t paying Hunter merely to keep her quiet about the affair. “One thing that’s possible is that she was still owed money from what she’d done before for the political action committee, but obviously there are less charitable explanations,” said Richard Hasen, a professor specializing in campaign finance law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Less charitable, indeed.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    Pretty funny. Again, I can’t wait to see the Marcotte-crowd spin on this.

    The Onion does however have a good take on the affair.

    Affair To Threaten Whatever It Is John Edwards Does For A Living

  2. Bithead says:

    Pretty funny. Again, I can’t wait to see the Marcotte-crowd spin on this.

    My guess is that since the Dinosaur Media is pretty much ignoring it, Malcotte and company won’t bother to address it at all, seeing doing so would simply draw more attention to it.

    And as if to state the blindingly obvious, were this one of the Republicans, we’d be treated to a wall-to wall coverage of the thing…. and Marcotte would be all over it, like, well… you know.