Monday, December 22, 2008

Lobbying activities of Joe Biden's son Hunter

Biden's Son a Registered Lobbyist
forwarded by a reader Mr. David Crockett
Published by Lindsay Renick Mayer on August 25, 2008 12:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Barack Obama may be trying to keep lobbyists out of his campaign, but after selecting Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate in the upcoming presidential election, he won't be able to keep lobbyists out of the family. Biden's son, Hunter, has been a registered lobbyist since 2001, pushing the agenda of universities and biotech companies on Capitol Hill. So far this year he's lobbied on behalf of nine clients for the law firm he co-founded, Oldaker Biden & Belair, which made $1.7 million in the first six months of this year. According to USA Today, which used data from the Center for Responsive Politics in its analysis, Hunter's clients have reported paying the firm a total of $470,000 so far this year.

It appears that Hunter and his father have tried to comply with the ethics rules related to family members of lawmakers who are employed as lobbyists. In 2006, Hunter ended his run with National Group, a lobbying-only subsidiary of his firm, in response to new ethics rules requiring lawmakers to prove that their relatives do not benefit directly from the lawmaker's spending or tax provisions. Sen. Biden also supported a new law that prohibited lawmakers' staff from being lobbied by the member of Congress's immediate family members who are lobbyists. A spokesman for Hunter told USA Today that he never lobbies his father and does not "share in fees from clients on whose behalf Sen. Biden has been lobbied by other firm partners and employees."

Despite this, the Bidens have not avoided controversy altogether surrounding Hunter's career. Hunter and Sen. Biden's brother, James, have been accused in two lawsuits of defrauding a former business partner at a hedge fund. The partner says he was asked to set up the hedge fund, Paradigm Companies LLC, and to make Hunter president, in response to Sen. Biden's concerns that Hunter's role as a lobbyist could affect his presidential bid (which he ended up dropping in January). Hunter has said his father had nothing to do with the deal, which went sour.

In addition, prior to working for National Group, Hunter was the senior vice president of credit card company MBNA Corp, which also happens to be Sen. Biden's largest contributor over time. The company has given the senator $214,100. At least 13 of Biden's employees have taken a similar spin through the revolving door between the public and private sectors.

Over the weekend Capital Eye provided a guide to all of our observations about Biden's campaign fundraising and personal finances.