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Edwards accepts then returns lobbyist money


RALEIGH (AP) -- Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards reiterated today his commitment to never accept campaign donations from special interest groups.

But over the past week he's also returned thousands of dollars in such donations.

Edwards spokeswoman Colleen Murray says the campaign returned money donated by a registered lobbyist last week. Today the campaign refunded money from two others after The Associated Press inquired about the donations.

Edwards has long eschewed campaign donations from lobbyists and political action committees, and did so today during a stop in Georgetown, South Carolina.

One donor was Robert Giroux, a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union. He gave $1,500 to Edwards' campaign in May. Records indicate the donation came a few weeks after Giroux registered as a lobbyist.

Murray says the campaign takes "every precaution possible, but sometimes people slip through." She says the money is returned immediately when the campaign learns it came from a lobbyist.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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