On Wednesday, The Intercept published a lengthy and detailed exposé on how Joe Biden’s family has financially benefited from his career in politics. While Democrats pursue impeachment of Trump for defeating Hillary in 2016, the Democrats are ignoring a huge problem: when Hunter Biden’s career is scrutinized, it clearly shows “that he, along with Joe Biden’s brother James, has been trading on their family name for decades, cashing in on the implication — and sometimes the explicit argument — that giving money to a member of Joe Biden’s family wins the favor of Joe Biden.”
In 1973, one year after Joe Biden was elected to the Senate at age 29, James Biden opened the nightclub Seasons Change with what Politico, referencing contemporaneous local reporting in Delaware, called “unusually generous bank loans.” When James ran into trouble, Joe, as a senator, later complained that the bank shouldn’t have loaned James the money. “What I’d like to know,” Biden told the News Journal in 1977, “is how the guy in charge of loans let it get this far.” The paper investigated, and sources at the bank said that the loan was made because James was Joe’s brother.
James, in the ’90s, founded Lion Hall Group, which lobbied for Mississippi trial lawyers involved in tobacco litigation. According to Curtis Wilkie’s book “The Fall of the House of Zeus,” the trial lawyers wanted James Biden’s help pushing Joe Biden on tobacco legislation.
In 1996, Hunter Biden started getting involved in the family business of exploiting Joe’s position as a U.S. senator. He got a job at MBNA while simultaneously serving at Joe Biden’s deputy campaign manager.
MBNA was one of the most powerful corporations in Delaware, a state with no shortage of major companies thanks to its lax tax and regulatory approach, and has since been absorbed by Bank of America. Biden in the 1990s was known half-jokingly as the senator from MBNA, though he didn’t find it funny. “I’m not the senator from MBNA,” he said in 1999.
He was, however, MBNA’s greatest champion in the Senate. Throughout the 1990s, bankruptcies were on the rise, and MBNA began pushing hard to reform the law to make it harder for people to discharge debt.
In 2001, Hunter Biden became a full-time federal lobbyist while staying on MBNA’s payroll as a consultant for the next four years, until Joe Biden’s Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law.
Joe Biden even worked to block an amendment that would have offered bankruptcy protection to people with medical debt. The bill also blocked people from discharging private student loan debt under bankruptcy. Total student loan debt was under $400 billion in 2005; it surged in the wake of the law’s passage and is now over $1.5 trillion.
In 2006, “The [Biden] family was considering acquiring the firm [Paradigm Global Advisors], and James Biden told executives there he’d have no problem bringing in people looking for an in with Joe Biden, who was a U.S. senator at the time. ‘We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden,’ James Biden told officials with the firm, according to a Politico Magazine investigation.”
Beau Biden turned red in the face, telling his uncle, “This can never leave this room, and if you ever say it again, I will have nothing to do with this.” Hunter and James Biden denied the account to Politico, but the magazine stood by it, citing multiple sources with similar recollections. “We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company,” a Paradigm executive recalls James Biden saying.
In 2014, the stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry, Chris Heinz, gave Hunter a similar warning. The pair were partners in an investment firm, Rosemont Seneca, when Hunter Biden and a third partner, Devon Archer, were invited to join the board of the Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings.
Heinz, through a spokesperson, told the Washington Post that he strongly objected to Hunter Biden and Archer taking the board seats. “Mr. Heinz strongly warned Mr. Archer that working with Burisma was unacceptable. Mr. Archer stated that he and Hunter Biden intended to pursue the opportunity as individuals, not as part of the firm,” the Post reported. “The lack of judgment in this matter was a major catalyst for Mr. Heinz ending his business relationships with Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden.”
In November 2010, James Biden joined a construction firm. Seven months later, that firm that would go on to win a $1.5 billion contract building homes in Iraq.
The company’s founder, Irvin Richter, told Fox Business Network that having James on board helped. “Listen, his name helps him get in the door, but it doesn’t help him get business,” he said. “People who have important names tend to get in the door easier but it doesn’t mean success. If he had the name Obama, he would get in the door easier.”
Joe Biden’s family business of cashing in on his Senate power reeks of corruption in the same way the Clinton Foundation did. Democrats can ignore this all they want, but, should Biden become the nominee, you can bet President Trump will call Biden out for it.
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