In July 2014, Republican Eddie Edwards and several of his fellow Tea Party conservatives appeared at a Dover City Council meeting to vigorously oppose a proposal to re-settle a large number of Congolese refugees in the area. Edwards and other conservatives were concerned the lack of information about the refugees, as well as the lack of communication and coordination with the local community— particularly from the Organization for Refugees and Immigrant Success (ORIS) pushing the plan.
“If you don’t want to lead, you should leave,” Edwards told the Dover city councilors.
Soon after, ORIS withdrew its re-settlement plan and the refugees never arrived. Edwards carried the day.
Just a few months earlier, the New Hampshire Endowment for Health issued an $11,000 grant to ORIS, specifically for the purpose of promoting immigration re-settlement in New Hampshire. And sitting on the board when the grant was approved?
It’s just one of several examples of liberal causes—including Planned Parenthood and illegal immigration— funded by the nonprofit organization Edwards helped oversee for five years.
Edwards touts his service on the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Endowment for Health on his resume. During this time, from October 2009 through September 2014, the NHEH repeatedly funded groups at odds with Edwards’ conservative philosophy.
For example, the NHEH issued at least one grant for $65,000 to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England; and a grant of $15,000 to the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, a far-Left amnesty activist organization that promotes the “human right” of illegal immigrants to live in the US.
Edwards confirms his service on the NHEH board at the time these grants were issued, but he denies ever supporting these causes.
“I have never voted for any money going to Planned Parenthood,” Edwards told NHJournal. “I’ve spoken publicly about this. I’ve never been supportive of Planned Parenthood.”
The same is true of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition based in Boston. Despite their open advocacy of illegal immigration–including a high-profile push for their “Welcoming” program that urges communities to oppose immigration enforcement— Edwards says he did not support their efforts.
“I have never been supportive of any initiative to allow people to be here illegally, and to use taxpayers dollars for that,” Edwards told NHJournal.
Sitting on a board of directors isn’t the same as being an executive director or manager. It’s possible Edwards wasn’t familiar with the programs supported by the nonprofit.
However, during the five years Edwards spent on the board, the NHEH made no secret of their left-leaning agenda. Their advocacy for liberal causes in areas like immigration are highlighted on their website,
In an extensive interview with NHJournal, Edwards told conflicting stories about whether or not, as a board member, he was aware of specific expenditures for Planned Parenthood, the MIRA Coalition, or ORIS.
“When I was on the board, there were probably 20, 30 people in the board meeting. I remember them talking about mental health, childhood education, those types of things…The Endowment for Health as I remember, never have voted on [specific] things like that. Not specific programs like that. We voted for an initiative.”
“I never voted for those things,” Edwards said repeatedly.
Later in the same interview, however, Edwards claimed he had voted on specific proposals, but was outvoted on funding for Planned Parenthood and the MIRA Coalition by a majority of the board. “The board outvoted me. What was I supposed to do–blow up the board?” Edwards told NHJournal.
When asked on follow up to confirm that the board had “outvoted him,” Edwards replied: “Of course they outvoted me!”
Edwards denied having any minutes or other documentation from those board meetings, but that may be a moot point. On Wednesday Karen Ager, Director of Communications for NH Endowment for Health, told NHJournal: ”All grants must be signed off on by the board.” [emphasis added]
Edwards insists that he has always been a strong opponent of illegal immigration and has never supported Planned Parenthood, despite his five years on the NH Endowment for Health board.
“I’m telling you, I’ve never voted for something like that. So whether they took a vote, whether somebody did it through another program or there’s somebody funding money to them, I have no idea how that happened, but I’ve never taken a vote for that because when I was a board member I was on the record speaking out publicly against stuff like this,” Edwards told NHJournal.