Was Senator Edwards Being Hypocritical by Working at a Hedge Fund?

I’m curious what readers think about this. After coming up short in his bid to become Vice President in 2004, Senator John Edwards worked for Fortress Investment Group (FIG) as a consultant. Given that Edwards has been focusing his political campaigning on helping solve the poverty problem in our country, is he being a hypocrite by working for a hedge fund, whose main job is helping rich people get even richer?

I’m not sure where I fall on this issue. At first blush it does seem like a questionable decision on his part. However, does the fact that he worked for Fortress really mean he is somehow abandoning the poor? Fortress is going to do what they do regardless of whether or not Edwards is there. There is no way his role at the firm had any financial benefit for Fortress clients. He might have given them a well respected politician in their corner, but he didn’t boost their investment returns, so he didn’t directly help the rich get richer. That is going to happen regardless.

Of course, Edwards is going to say it was, in part, a learning experience. He clearly doesn’t have much financial markets knowledge. But he did admit that the money was nice too. Does someone who supposedly wants to help the poor have to purposely avoid earning a nice living because of his political platform?

It’s an interesting topic. I’m curious to hear what you all think. And I know it’s a political discussion, but let’s keep it polite, not partisan. We can speak in terms of politicians in general, regardless of party affiliation.