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Edwards nonprofit helped plot presidential campaign

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CHAPEL HILL (AP) -- After John Edwards lost the race for the White House in 2004, he found a way to remain in the public eye, but his method is under scrutiny.

In 2005, his staff created the Center for Promise and Opportunity. Under federal tax law, it's classified as a nonprofit, but the center allowed Edwards to keep his White House hopes alive well before anyone had formed presidential exploratory committees for 2008.

The nonprofit allowed Edwards to raise as much money as he wanted from individual donors or overall.

The nonprofit had five officers in 2005, and all but one of them work for Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign. The center may have also stretched the tax law, which prohibits political nonprofits from having a primary purpose of supporting or opposing candidates.

Two former Federal Election Commission officials say there's nothing wrong with Edwards' approach as long as he didn't do any explicit campaigning for the presidential nomination or use funds to maintain a political staff.

The Edwards campaign describes this period as one in which Edwards spent his time and energy engaging Americans in the fight against poverty, the North Carolina Democrat's signature issue.

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

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