An Appeal for Tail Number from Fred Baron's Plane
John Edwards is embroiled in a Chinese water torture-like hell of his own making and Fred Baron is apparently along for the (plane) ride.
DBKP wrote yesterday of some odd arrangements between Fred Baron and the John Edwards campaign. More is planned for later today or tomorrow. In the meantime, we were sent notice of some related news.
[Background information: access over 100 DBKP stories on the John Edwards affair, scandal and cover-up in the John Edwards Love Child Scandal library.]
Laura Leslie, of WNCU North Carolina Public Radio, is perplexed about the odd arrangements between the John Edwards campaign and finance chairman, Fred Baron.
Last but not least…
Last night, I asked why Edwards’ campaign was paying its campaign finance chairman hundreds of thousands of dollars. (For the record, they usually don't get paid at all.) I got an answer today.
show the Edwards campaign actually paid “Frederick Baron” a lot more - about $1,024,000 over the course of 2007. According to OpenSecrets.org, it was for airfare. In the last and current campaign cycles, Edwards frequently used a small private plane that Baron says he “ .” But in election law require campaigns to report and pay for loaner planes at market rates.
Leslie goes on to say all's according to Hoyle and that Clinton and Obama spent more on airfare. But then this: "But some insider folks I talked to today raised a couple of red flags."
Who would've thought we'd be using "the Edwards Affair" and the subsequent cover-up and "red flags" in the same sentence? Not anyone in the MSM until late July.
Back to the Laura Leslie's red flags.
- When a candidate’s traveling to multiple destinations in a short time, private planes make more sense. But when it’s a simple itinerary, commercial airline travel is usually cheaper. Relatively speaking, Edwards’ folks spent a lot of time on his friend’s private plane, regardless of the price – especially surprising, given his tight fundraising battle with Clinton and Obama.
- Charter planes, no matter who owns them, are usually operated by some type of company. The campaign usually pays the operating business, not the owner. But in this case, records show the campaign wrote the checks directly to Frederick Baron. That's not illegal, but it's pretty unusual.
- Most nebulous but most interesting: one reputable source told me, “You know, if you wanted to move some money out of a campaign without too many questions, private airplane bills would be a really good way to do it.” Why? Even if you can crosscheck manifests and destinations (no small job, BTW – 122 billings in 2007 alone), the pricing itself can be tough to verify.
The day before, August 10, Patterico's noticed something at a "website called “Web of Deception” has the following interesting observation, complete with links supporting the allegations:"
Fred Baron provided money to Hunter and Young because he stated he liked them and during that exact period of time he was given $389,698.45 from the “John Edwards for President” campaign and received another $57,428.00 the month Hunter went into the hospital to give birth.
Patterico was so interested by all this that he sent Fred Baron an email to inquire into the curious nature of all of this. Mr. Baron responded:
The payments you reference were made to an aviation company that I control to reimburse travel expense from the campaign — the FEC mandates these charges to be paid by the campaign and they have been reported in our FEC public filings — I hope this answers your question.
Patterico noted that he "sent Mr. Baron a few follow-up questions," and "hoped he would respond".
It's our hope, too.
Laura Leslie finished her segment of John Edwards' travel musings with a mention of an "interesting coincidence".
Interesting coincidence: The day in 2007 that Edwards’ campaign spent the most on Baron’s jet – $89,562 – was October 9th, one day before the National Enquirerthat Edwards was having an affair with an unnamed campaign staffer. (Edwards, for the record, was on the ground in Iowa that day.)
Anyone following this story since December will notice that this is not the only "interesting coincidence" that has occurred. The John Edwards scandal is replete with such coincidences.
Did the Edwards campaign use travel billings to transfer money back to Fred Baron to transfer to Rielle Hunter? We can only speculate--for now.
While in December, the many, many coincidences in the Edwards-Hunter story excited no curiosity outside the offices of the National Enquirer and a few blogs, today they attract the attention of a much wider audience.
Which partially explains the "drip, drip, drip" that John Edwards and Fred Baron are currently feeling.
[NOTE: Any readers who can lay hands on a picture or registration number of Fred Baron's "mystery plane", might email DBKP (firstname.lastname@example.org). Any information which is used gets the lucky contributor an all-expenses paid, luxury hat tip.]
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* no fenders