Tuesday, January 18, 2011; A03

Grand jury probes spending by Edwards

A federal criminal investigation targeting John Edwards is examining how much the two-time presidential candidate knew about money used to cover up his extramarital affair and out-of-wedlock child and whether other money practices violated campaign finance laws, people involved in the case have told the Associated Press.

A federal grand jury in Raleigh, N.C., is sifting records and testimony involving several political organizations and individuals connected to Edwards to determine whether the former senator from North Carolina and 2004 vice presidential nominee broke any laws.

Investigators are looking chiefly at whether funds paid to Edwards's mistress Rielle Hunter and former campaign aide Andrew Young - from outside political groups and Edwards's political donors - should have been considered campaign donations since they arguably aided his presidential bid, according to several people involved in the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing probe.

Edwards's attorney, Wade Smith, would not discuss specifics but said, "We do not believe there is evidence that John has violated any election laws."

- Associated Press

Palin says Democrats used target maps

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin defended herself from criticism Monday by saying Democrats have used maps with targets to identify congressional districts they wanted to win.

The Republican appeared on Fox's Sean Hannity show, following the shooting in Arizona that killed six people and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D).

Critics have noted that Palin's political action committee used crosshairs to identify congressional districts, including that of Giffords. Palin said the graphic was not original. As she spoke, a Democratic map appeared on the screen that had circular targets on congressional districts.

Palin said she and other conservatives were being falsely accused of murder.

- Associated Press

NAACP calls for boycott of Charlotte

At a Martin Luther King Jr. Day protest over school policies, the head of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP on Monday announced a campaign to urge the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament and other groups to boycott Charlotte.

Pledging to "expose Charlotte for the racist bastion it is," the NAACP chapter's president, Kojo Nantambu, announced a drive to keep the CIAA, NCAA, PGA "and any other 'A' " from coming to the city.

He also said his group would ask the national NAACP to consider asking the Democratic Party not to hold its 2012 convention in Charlotte.

His comments came just before he led about 100 people on a march through uptown to protest the local school system's decision to hold classes on the King holiday to make up for days lost to snow.

- McClatchy-Tribune

Oil flowing again through pipeline

Oil began flowing again Monday through the trans-Alaska pipeline after workers installed a pipe to bypass a leak at a pump house station on the North Slope.

Alyeska Service Pipeline said it hoped to increase the amount of oil in the 800-mile pipeline to 500,000 barrels during the next 24 hours.

The pipeline was carrying about 630,000 barrels a day before the leak was discovered Jan. 8 in an underground pipe encased in concrete.

- Associated Press

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