Biden’s lobbying ties; Update: Son’s firm lobbies Biden

posted at 10:00 am on August 24, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

How thoroughly did Barack Obama vet Joe Biden?  After months of demonizing lobbyists, Obama selected a running mate who has taken millions in contributions from those same lobbyists Obama supposedly eschewed, at least until the DNC started running out of money.  In fact, Biden’s son works as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, accruing the kind of earmarks that Obama has both decried and pursued:

Biden has accepted $5,133,072 in contributions from lawyers and lobbyists since 2003. Obama does not accept contributions from federally registered lobbyists.

And he has one other weakness that hasn’t received much attention to date. One of Biden’s sons, Hunter, is a registered Washington lobbyist in a year in which Obama has been excoriating lobbyists and the culture of corruption in Washington. The younger Biden is a name partner at the firm Oldaker, Biden & Belair, LLP, and seems to have specialized in lobbying for just the kind of earmark spending by Congress that Obama has vowed to slash. Republican insiders say the party is likely to make an issue of Biden’s family lobbying ties.

Also expect to hear more about Biden’s close ties with credit card companies. His largest contributor (based on total contributions by employees) over the past five years has been MBNA, the Delaware-based bank aquired in 2005 by Bank of America than until then was the world’s largest independent credit card issuer and a major supporter of the 2005 bankruptcy bill that Biden crossed the aisle to support.

Once again, I want to point out that lobbying is a Constitutionally protected exercise.  The First Amendment gives Americans the right to petition Congress, and nothing prohibits or even discourages citizens from organizing in that effort to harness the power of numbers.   Run ethically, the practice of lobbying fills an important role in politics.

Of course, I’m not the one declaring lobbyists persona non grata in the Democratic Party.  That was Barack Obama, who declared just two months ago that lobbyists would not fund “my party”:

The Democratic National Committee will uphold the same standard: We will not take a dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. … They will not fund my party!

Take a look at the top five industries that donate to Biden as well:

  • Lawyers/law firms
  • Real estate
  • Retired
  • Securities & investment
  • Miscellaneous finance

Real estate and miscellaneous finance — wouldn’t that figure into the credit crisis and the housing market collapse?

It looks like Obama didn’t just throw Hope and Change under the bus, but himself right along with it.  Whether this is hypocrisy or incompetence, it’s stunning either way.

Update & Bump, 8/24: Apparently, R. Hunter Biden doesn’t lobby his father, but his firm does.  Looks like a conflict of interest:

William Oldaker, another named partner and former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, has been Sen. Biden’s campaign treasurer for Congress.

Oldaker has advised Biden on campaign issues, first during the Senator’s failed 1988 presidential bid. And while Oldaker has said he does not lobby Biden personally, he has spoken with Biden’s staff about some clients.

One example was the University of Delaware, which Oldaker approached in 2002, shortly after founding the firm with Hunter Biden and Robert Belair. Since then, the university has paid Oldaker’s firm $1.5 million.

The payoff: as of 2006, $24.8 million in earmarks for defense research, a student-exchange program, and a drug-and-alcohol-studies program.

This hardly points to Hope and Change.  Looks like Obama sold out to the Beltway.


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Perhaps he knows it is over and is trying to throw it away and blame it on Biden.

ctmom on August 23, 2008 at 9:35 AM

Obama has flip-flopped on 27 issues. Why not one more–he can dump Biden & pick Hillary!
BO: “Hey, it was just a trial balloon!”

jgapinoy on August 23, 2008 at 9:35 AM

ctmom on August 23, 2008 at 9:35 AM

Lot of truth there! Of course maybe he’s just stupid.

Oldnuke on August 23, 2008 at 9:38 AM

One of Biden’s sons, Hunter, is a registered Washington lobbyist in a year in which Obama has been excoriating lobbyists and the culture of corruption in Washington.

Barry will just say that it’s “low class” to talk about a candidate’s children and he will not allow us to ask question’s like this.

Buy Danish on August 23, 2008 at 9:40 AM

$5,133,072? Holy sh-t.

LtE126 on August 23, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Oldnuke on August 23, 2008 at 9:38 AM
Lot of truth there! Of course maybe he’s just stupid.

Which one? Obama for picking a loser? Or Biden for being the fall guy? :)

ctmom on August 23, 2008 at 9:43 AM

ctmom on August 23, 2008 at 9:43 AM

Biden: Fallguy ’08! I think you nailed it. I’m starting to hear the rumblings of a McCain landslide this year.

RushBaby on August 23, 2008 at 9:47 AM

Joe Biden, the Senator From MBNA
[Byron York-NRO COrner]

On the home page, I have a new (old) piece up about Joe Biden. In 1998, I went to Delaware to look into the circumstances under which Biden had sold a house. It had been a minor issue in his 1996 re-election campaign, but when I got there, I found that it was just a small part of Biden’s very close relationship with MBNA, the giant Delaware-based credit-card company (which was bought by Bank of America in 2006). It turned out to be a portrait of how Biden’s very-old Washington ways worked.

Another sweetheart mortgage deal for a Democratic senator??

The ads will just write themselves!

Wethal on August 23, 2008 at 9:48 AM

I just saw an Obama adviser on Morning Joe say that McCain was responsible for how bad the economy is with his “25 years.” Excuse me? 1. How does being in the Senate put full blame on you? 2. Biden’s been there longer, so why did Obama pick him?

I believe the Obama campaign is going to turn really populist. What I got from that adviser, they are going to play up Biden’s “working class spirit.”

DanStark on August 23, 2008 at 9:48 AM

ctmom on August 23, 2008 at 9:43 AM

I meant BHO, but it could go either way now that I think about it :-)

Oldnuke on August 23, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Offtopic, Team Obama is trying to shut down the Ayer’s ad.

http://noquarterusa.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/aiplettertostations.pdf

ninjapirate on August 23, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Barry will just say that it’s “low class” to talk about a candidate’s children and he will not allow us to ask question’s like this.

Buy Danish on August 23, 2008 at 9:40 AM

That would be almost as low class as attack ads about the amount of real estate owned by a candidate’s wife.

a capella on August 23, 2008 at 9:51 AM

Rookie, simple as that. This man is 8-12 years away from being ready to run a campaign of this nature, let alone lead the free world. Obama blew it big time, as he is being exposed as an incompetent empty suit politician from the old Chicago school of thuggery corrupt radical ways of achieving power. Quite frankly, it’s ugly to watch such a rookie put in place by people who should have known better. By the end of November, this man (and his wife) will be nothing other than damaged goods.

Leads me to believe that the Clinton’s abused their power within party ranks beyond what we will ever know. The Clinton’s must have been hated & despised by Democrats in order for this scenario to have taken place. Wouldn’t surprise me, as Hillary comes off as one wicked witch of a woman, and Bill (although a guy who would likely be fun to party with) whored out the country for (8) years.

Keemo on August 23, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Your credit card interest payments: supporting Joe Biden’s lifestyle in Washington for three decades.

Think_b4_speaking on August 23, 2008 at 9:52 AM

I just like that the guy who lifts entire speeches chose a VP whose own quest for the presidency was once derailed in part because he had a similar predilections…

watchmen on August 23, 2008 at 9:53 AM

Leads me to believe that the Clinton’s abused their power within party ranks beyond what we will ever know.

Keemo on August 23, 2008 at 9:52 AM

.
I recall Carville saying that if Gore did not win in 2000, the dem party would be in serious trouble. Perhaps this is playing out now.

Think_b4_speaking on August 23, 2008 at 9:54 AM

I believe the Obama campaign is going to turn really populist. What I got from that adviser, they are going to play up Biden’s “working class spirit.”

DanStark on August 23, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Oh my. Will Biden soon be tramping thorugh the fields of Ohio in new hunting duds from LL Bean and Timberland, saying, “I’m gonna bag me a goose”? Could we be so lucky?

Wethal on August 23, 2008 at 9:54 AM

HEY…THIS IS HIS CRAZY UNCLE!

tomas on August 23, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Crowley’s TNR profile concludes with a striking example of Biden’s foreign policy sophistication. In the wake of 9/11, in a meeting with his staff, Biden shared his epiphany:

Biden launches into a stream-of-consciousness monologue about what his [Senate Foreign Relations] committee should be doing, before he finally admits the obvious: “I’m groping here.” Then he hits on an idea: America needs to show the Arab world that we’re not bent on its destruction. “Seems to me this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran,” Biden declares. He surveys the table with raised eyebrows, a How do ya like that? look on his face.

Priceless bit from Powerline. And of course the foreign policy sophisticate didn’t know the Iranians are Persians, not Arabs.

Wethal on August 23, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Delaware is home to just about every credit card company.

A little state with these massive corporations right downtown that I’m not sure anyone works at.

At least with Joe, we all know he is insincere, but generally harmless.

I understand he really is a nice guy, not a dickhead like Barry.

benrand on August 23, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Delaware is home to just about every credit card company.

A little state with these massive corporations right downtown that I’m not sure anyone works at.

At least with Joe, we all know he is insincere, but generally harmless.

I understand he really is a nice guy, not a dick like Barry.

benrand on August 23, 2008 at 10:00 AM

I just hope Biden keeps smirking and bragging about how great he is…

If Obama is looking forward to unite the world (bunch of BS), Biden was the most divisive choice

justinok on August 23, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Offtopic, Team Obama is trying to shut down the Ayer’s ad.

http://noquarterusa.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/aiplettertostations.pdf

ninjapirate on August 23, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Well, that makes me all the more anxious to see the Annenberg Challenge papers which the University of Illinois at Chicago has announced they are releasing.

Buy Danish on August 23, 2008 at 10:07 AM

If we see a Thomas Eagleton moment within the next two weeks, than the Obama-McGovern comparison will be complete.

jon1979 on August 23, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Delaware is home to just about every credit card company.

A little state with these massive corporations right downtown that I’m not sure anyone works at.

At least with Joe, we all know he is insincere, but generally harmless.

I understand he really is a nice guy, not a dick like Barry.

benrand on August 23, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Delaware’s corporation code is very corporate-friendly. A lot of US corporations are incorporated in DE, but have their principle place of business (headquarters) elsewhere. I went to law school in PA, but we studied the DE Corp Code in Corporations-I simply because it was so widely used by US corporations incorporated in DE.

Wethal on August 23, 2008 at 10:08 AM

What every man wants: BO and Hair Plugs, 08!

AZCoyote on August 23, 2008 at 10:11 AM

Buy Danish on August 23, 2008 at 10:07 AM

I suspect those papers will have been completely white-washed, in preparation to their release. If so, I hope the one and only “Charles Johnson of LGF” will bust their asses once again.

Keemo on August 23, 2008 at 10:14 AM

NRO also has a good article on the Corner about his connections to MBNA

ConservativePartyNow on August 23, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Obama worked to reduce the influence of lobbyists in Illinois?

How?

drjohn on August 23, 2008 at 10:19 AM

SSSshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,not to loud,but I
thought Obama was against those crafty
Dirty Rotten Filthy has more than one home
Rich lobbyists!

Does Obama know that Biden is one of them,
more than one house,and a very,very stinkin
rich Liberal!!!!!

canopfor on August 23, 2008 at 10:19 AM

This lobby issue has major legs. Who woulda thunk that Joe’s kid is a lobbyist. That paper trail has to be interesting. Has Joe recused himself from congressional action that could have been a conflict of interest with his son’s firm?

JAW on August 23, 2008 at 10:21 AM

Boy this is going to be a fun election.

TheNolan on August 23, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Pah, Biden makes Obama easy to beat for so many reasons.

Tina Hey on August 23, 2008 at 10:29 AM

I contend that Slo Jo Biden was the panic candidate after Obambi had several turn downs. That also explains the stuttering announcement time line. Slo Jo was just sitting there all along, riding around in his gigantic Ford king cab gas guzzling truck, what was so complicated about announcing Slo Jo on Friday at 10:00 AM?

If anything, since Slo Jo Biden is such a droning gasbag, it will emphasize Obama can’t think on his feet … Bad choice. A northern way left liberal isn’t going to help much in the south.

tarpon on August 23, 2008 at 10:29 AM

I think someone tricked him and put Biden’s name on the teleprompter.

elifino on August 23, 2008 at 10:30 AM

What every man wants: BO and Hair Plugs, 08!

AZCoyote on August 23, 2008 at 10:11 AM

LOL!

ctmom on August 23, 2008 at 10:36 AM

OBAMA BIN BIDEN!!!!!

Tina Hey on August 23, 2008 at 10:40 AM

I was thinking for a while that Obama = Carter.

Now, I’m thinking Obama = Dukakis.

Where’s Obama’s tank moment?

BowHuntingTexas on August 23, 2008 at 10:52 AM

The Biden choice, more Democratic “nuance”.

GarandFan on August 23, 2008 at 11:02 AM

If anything, since Slo Jo Biden is such a droning gasbag, it will emphasize Obama can’t think on his feet … Bad choice. A northern way left liberal isn’t going to help much in the south.

tarpon on August 23, 2008 at 10:29 AM

The South was lost the moment it was clear Obamabi was their nominee (that assumes Rove isn’t right this very moment plotting Hillary’s convention resurrection). And Obamabi’s skin color isn’t his problem in the South–it’s who he associates with and what he believes.

flyfisher on August 23, 2008 at 11:36 AM

Obama Bin Biden 2008

redrock on August 23, 2008 at 11:36 AM

If anything, since Slo Jo Biden is such a droning gasbag, it will emphasize Obama can’t think on his feet … Bad choice. A northern way left liberal isn’t going to help much in the south.

tarpon on August 23, 2008 at 10:29 AM

The South was lost the moment it was clear Obamabi Obambi was their nominee (that assumes Rove isn’t right this very moment plotting Hillary’s convention resurrection). And Obamabi’s Obambi’s skin color isn’t his problem in the South–it’s who he associates with and what he believes.

flyfisher on August 23, 2008 at 11:36 AM

flyfisher on August 23, 2008 at 11:38 AM

BowHuntingTexas on August 23, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Biden was defeated by Michael Dukakis for the nomination in 1988! LMAO!

myamphibian on August 23, 2008 at 11:40 AM

exit question: how long before Joe finds a place under the bus . I think granny is holding a spot open for him right next to her .

Mojack420 on August 23, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Please stop attacking Democrats! They are better than us because they care! Surely it doesn’t matter what they actually do and say, since they are filled with such compassion, and are so frickin’ smart!

Halley on August 23, 2008 at 11:50 AM

The lib hoi polloi has to be wondering right now what kind of “change” Biden represents.

whitetop on August 23, 2008 at 11:57 AM

Biden comes with build-in Swift Boats, his mouth. Hillary must be thrilled, this turd will sink Obama and open the door for Hillary in 2012. All she need do is lay low and watch the Republican Party continue destruction by separation from conservatives.

Wade on August 23, 2008 at 12:03 PM

Two things,

First, taking money from lobbyists is only bad if your a Republican.

and

B.) I have mentioned in several threads now that Obama wants to lose. I think it is going to cause a huge amount of strife and that he will gain in finances and in stature, which has been his goal And then Soros will take advantage of the discontent to get more than a foothold in the economy.

Truthers have nothing on me. And I did the first/b thing on purpose.

Cindy Munford on August 23, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Boy Ed, you guys were prepared! I wonder if you had similar pieces prepared for Bayh and the other contenders.
Great work as always.

SouthernDem on August 23, 2008 at 12:17 PM

My head may just explode from all of the GREAT SUPER FUN data I am receiving today. I actually intended to get things done today -now I am glued to the computer!

HawaiiLwyr on August 23, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Man, I can’t wait for Monday morning, to buy up some calls on the popcorn futures market….

Think_b4_speaking on August 23, 2008 at 1:01 PM

I always knew that Obama was a phony, but even I am surprised at this pick.

Terrye on August 23, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Biden has been trying to get elected for so long…loses every time…Obama is sinking fast and he picks dead weight Biden???? I don’t get it…

CCRWM on August 23, 2008 at 1:25 PM

I think the Republicans have a real chance to make a comeback here…If they do a bunch of mea culpas and promise to get back to conservatism they might be able to make lemonaid out of all these lemons…

CCRWM on August 23, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Joe Biden, YAAAAWN!

byteshredder on August 23, 2008 at 1:33 PM

I get it now! ‘Change’ comes in big bundles from
Lawyers/law firms, Real estate, Securities & investment, and Miscellaneous finance.

Change you can count on.

DannoJyd on August 23, 2008 at 1:59 PM

Obama Bin Biden 2008

redrock on August 23, 2008 at 11:36 AM

posting Gold again, redrock!

It’s becoming apparent that the Dems prefer their status as the ‘loyal opposition’, tossing rotten tomatoes at the Republicans from their lofty moral high ground. The pay is the same, without all of the headaches that come with the White House. They’ve had Congress for two years and don’t like having to answer for their lack of deliverables.
Besides, Obama losing in a landslide will be further evidence (to Dems) that we are a racist country, that we’ve slipped back instead of moving forward, that America is still on the wrong track. From my point of view, an Obama disaster on Nov 4th will show that we have moved beyond race, and refuse to elect an idiot just because other idiots were gullible enough to vote for him.
By the bye-MY America has had a great economy for the last eight years! How about yours?

Doug on August 23, 2008 at 4:52 PM

Biden is an old ‘commodity’.

Hope, Change and Unity went under the bus before they were conceived as the biggest lie of this century, by the Obama illusion.

So much hot air there never was, and isn’t likely to ever be again, in such a compressed timeframe.

Entelechy on August 24, 2008 at 3:56 PM

Biden was defeated by Michael Dukakis for the nomination in 1988! LMAO!

myamphibian on August 23, 2008 at 11:40 AM

Heh. I wonder if Barry’s wonder team vetted him tht far back. Maybe they didn’t know. What a great ad that would make.

a capella on August 24, 2008 at 4:52 PM

That was then.

This is now.

Akzed on August 24, 2008 at 6:33 PM

More on Hunter Biden from Daily Kos. Thanks guys!

There are a couple of lawsuits against him, but everyone sounds a bit shady in those deals so I’m not taking sides, but this was interesting:

His son, Hunter Biden, was hired as a management trainee at MBNA straight out of law school, and was quickly promoted to executive vice president. The younger Biden has since left MBNA to establish his own lawyer-and-lobbying firm, but still receives a $100,000 per year consulting fee from the bank, which has since been swallowed by Bank of America.

As it turns out, MBNA is Senator Biden’s biggest contributor.

Who wouldn’t love to have a $100,000 a year “consulting” job working for a defunct bank? What does he do for them exactly?

Buy Danish on August 24, 2008 at 7:49 PM