Should John Edwards Have Been Indicted for His Affair Coverup?

A federal grand jury says Edwards conspired to accept illegal campaign donations.

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Two-time presidential hopeful John Edwards’s secret life has come back to haunt him once again. His extramarital affair (and love child) with videographer Rielle Hunter effectively ended his political career, but now he is also facing criminal charges. A federal grand jury indictment alleges Edwards conspired to accept unreported campaign contributions above the legal limits. “The purpose of the conspiracy was to protect and advance EDWARDS’ candidacy for President of the United States,” the indictment reads, “by secretly obtaining and using hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions … well in excess of the Election Act’s limit, to conceal EDWARDS’ extramarital affair” and Hunter’s pregnancy. The indictment comes after a two-year investigation into the issue. [Read: Why Don't Men Like Schwarzenegger, Edwards Use Condoms?]

But U.S. News blogger Susan Milligan (who admires the maligned Elizabeth Edwards) believes an indictment goes too far. “John Edwards, many would agree, is quite a jerk. But is he a criminal?” she asks, suggesting it’s wrong to consider the coverup money a political campaign contribution. She adds:

By that logic, almost anything could be construed as a political donation—if someone offered to mow his lawn, is that an illegal in-kind contribution, since a well-manicured lawn makes someone look like an upstanding homeowner, and therefore a more attractive candidate? Haircuts, teeth-cleanings—is anything turned into a campaign event, just because it affects someone’s image in front of the electorate?

What do you think? Should John Edwards have been indicted? Take the poll and post your thoughts below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.

Previously: Is the GOP 2012 field weak?