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Edwards Protests Wynn Fundraiser

Rosalind Helderman

For the kind of campaign she is trying to run, Congressional candidate Donna F. Edwards could hardly have scripted this morning's event better.

Five weeks before she takes on eight-term U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.) in the Democratic primary for Maryland's 4th Congressional district seat, Wynn held a breakfast fundraiser Tuesday morning at the glassy Capitol Hill offices of Entergy, an energy company that is the nation's second largest nuclear energy generator.

According to campaign finance reports, Entergy's political action committees have given Wynn $18,000 since 2001. An invitation for the breakfast suggested donations of $1,000 for political action committees and $250 or $500 for individuals.

Edwards, a Prince George's attorney who got within 3 percentage points of the incumbent in 2006 in part by arguing he is beholden to corporate donors, showed up on the sidewalk outside with a knot of about 20 supporters, who held signs with slogans like "Dirty $$=Dirty Congress" and "Lobbyists vs. Constituents."

"When you're owned lock, stock and barrel by the corporate interests that fund your campaign, it's no surprise about the kind of policy we get," she told the group.

Wynn strode with a few aides through the small group, making no comments. Afterward, his campaign released a statement highlighting investments in Halliburton made by Edwards' employer, the Arca Foundation.

The nonprofit, from which she has taken a leave of absence as executive director, uses its investment returns to fund various progressive causes. The company has invested about $1 million in Exxon Mobil and Halliburton.

"Ms. Edwards actions today are merely a desperate attempt to mislead the voters, create a smokescreen and redirect scrutiny away from her own questionable fundraising activities and investments and ties to Halliburton" said Lori Sherwood, Wynn's campaign manager.

Sherwood also noted Edwards has received money from a hedge fund founder whose company has also invested in Halliburton.

In a recent interview, Arca board member Margery Tabankin said that, as an employee, Edwards has no control over the foundation's investments. "If Donna were the investment counselor to Arca...I'd say maybe he has something," she said. "But it's a big stretch and tries to make linkages that don't exist."

Sherwood, however, said Edwards is "hypocritical" to criticize Wynn for corporate money while not speaking out against Arca investments that help the foundation pay her salary.

At Tuesday's event, Wynn left his car parked directly in front of the building, allowing Edwards' supporters to take plenty of pictures of themselves in front of his Congressional license plate--for posting, no doubt, to various blogs that have adopted her campaign as a national cause.

"Voters haven't had a choice. That's why somebody can get money from the nuclear industry five weeks before an election and think it's okay. It's up to the voters to decide if this is okay," said Matt Stoller, who edits and attended the event.

Will voters in the district decide energy industry fundraising is a no-no? Will they instead conclude Wynn's campaign donations are canceled out by investment decisions made by Edwards' employer and contributors, as Wynn clearly hopes?

Five weeks to go and this race is on.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  January 8, 2008; 12:52 PM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Has big Al no shame?

Posted by: adrock | January 8, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Come on Ros:

Comparing campaign contributions with "investment decisions made by Edwards' employer"? That's not even a subject for discussion, unless flat earth vs. modern science is a "serious debate".

Al Wynn takes money from campaign contributors, and THEN DOES THEIR BIDDING. That's the point -- quid pro quo, this for that.

Where's the "quo" on the Edwards side: what does she do that is wrong or improper? The answer is nothing.

Stop dignifying Wynn's desperate and ridiculous mudslinging by making a false equivalence. That's not journalism, that's stenography. "On the one hand, Edwards makes sense. On the other hand, Al Wynn is drooling out of the side of his mouth. What will voters think?" At some point, rationality has to have a place in the journalistic firmament, no?

Posted by: lefty | January 8, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Al Wynn has been taking industry money for years and his votes in Congress suggest that money was not wasted by special interests.

And however flawed Al Wynn's attack against Donna Edwards (Donna does not direct the investment decisions of her employer), it speaks volumes that Al's accusations of wrong-doing are the same missteps. He says behaving like him is "just as bad". What does that say of Al's judgment?

I am embarrassed by my representation (lack of) in Congress. Let's go with change - let's go with Donna Edwards.

Posted by: manderson | January 8, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

This is from an objective news source:

O'Malley's job approval lower than Bush's
By Tom LoBianco and Seth McLaughlin

Maryland residents say Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, is doing a worse job than President Bush, according to a new poll released yesterday.

Posted by: Pollster | January 8, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Objective news source?!? That's a laugh!!

Posted by: PG'er | January 8, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Times is owned by the Moonies. It's hardly objective. That's laughable.

Posted by: InMoCo | January 9, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Our voting system is rigged.

How can any voter have confidence in this system?

Posted by: thankyouforvoting | January 13, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Donna Edwards lives right here in the Oxon Hill area and I have seen her at several local community meetings regarding the Harbor and Bridge. The Al Wynn ads against her on the radio are very misleading. She did not oppose the National Harbor but what she did do was hold the developers accountable for the entire community and made them promise to develop more of the downtown Oxon Hill area including strip malls like Rivertowne and some of the deteriorating strip malls we are surrounded by that mainly house liquor stores and carryouts. She is the one who fought to make sure that the developer didnt just create a gated community haven for the rich at the Harbor and ignore the rest of the surrounding local neighborhoods. She fought to make Milt Peterson give grants that can be used by the local community organizations. I am once again voting for Donna Edwards and I know the truth behind the negative campaign ads Wynn is trying to use to say she was anti-National Harbor which is one of the best things that has happened to my community and she made sure it will be the best thing for ALL citizens.

D. Williams, Esq.
Resident of Oxon Hill

Posted by: TechLawyerinPG | February 7, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

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