WASHINGTON, Iowa -- Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Saturday he has "absolutely no control" over a $495,000 donation a wealthy philanthropist made to a group that supports him.
News reports said Rachel Mellon gave the gift to the Alliance for a New America, an independent group helping Edwards. The so-called 527 group is not subject to federal campaign financing limits.
The group is spending a reported $1.7 million on radio and TV ads in support of Edwards in Iowa, whose Thursday caucuses kick off the 2008 campaign. The Alliance is headed by former Edwards adviser Nick Baldick. Coordination between such groups and campaigns is against the law.
Rival Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has criticized such efforts to help Edwards and Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.
Edwards has made a point of saying he doesn't take money from lobbyists or special interest political action committees. Saturday he repeated his call for the Alliance to stop its ads. Asked if he would push for the return of Mellon's donation, he said, "I have absolutely no control over that."
"I call on them (the Alliance) to stop what they're doing."
As a vice presidential candidate in 2004, Edwards called on President Bush to force a 527 group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to take down ads attacking Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
"Mr. President, the clock is running," Edwards said at the time. "The American people deserve to hear from you. And they deserve to hear from you that these ads will come down."