The Obama-Biden pork partnership
posted at 12:10 pm on August 27, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
The Washington Post peeks into the sausage-making aspects of Capitol Hill legislating, and discovers that Barack Obama and Joe Biden have a longer partnership than first thought. Obama pursued over $3 million in earmarks for Biden’s son, at the same time that Biden claims he didn’t get personally lobbied by Hunter Biden for his clients. Obama apparently provided the necessary cover for his wingman:
Sen. Barack Obama sought more than $3.4 million in congressional earmarks for clients of the lobbyist son of his Democratic running mate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, records show. Obama succeeded in getting $192,000 for one of the clients, St. Xavier University in suburban Chicago.
Obama’s campaign has taken a hard stance against the world of lobbying in the nation’s capital. Obama said he limits his own efforts to get money for pet projects — a process known as earmarking — to those that benefit the public. He has posted his earmark requests on his presidential campaign Web site to encourage transparency. …
An analysis for The Washington Post by Taxpayers for Common Sense of Hunter Biden’s firm’s lobbying business found that its clients collected $2.7 million in earmarks in the last fiscal year.
Their investment in Hunter Biden’s salary has paid large dividends. With so many friends among his father’s colleagues, Hunter didn’t need to meet with Dad to score pork for his clients. It’s a sterling example of how members of Congress offer hypocritical sanctimony on their relations with lobbyists while ensuring that family and friends get their share from the public trough.
One particularly interesting case involves a private Catholic university. Democrats insist that school vouchers for urban parents would violate the Constitution because the parents might choose to send their children to parochial schools. However, since Hunter Biden signed St. Xavier University, a four-year, 5,600-student institution run by the Roman Catholic Sisters of Mercy in Orland Park, IL as a client, he has managed to secure them over $300,000 in federal grants. Hunter specifically landed St. Xavier U after telling them he could get them government pork.
This is the kind of activity against which Barack Obama inveighs on the campaign trail. While in the Senate, though, he enables it through these kind of quid pro quo arrangements that give the appearance that Biden has no conflict of interest. In contrast, John McCain doesn’t do earmarks at all — not for himself, not for his friends, and not for his political allies.
One candidate talks the talk, and one candidate walks the walk. The former picked a porker who took almost $7 million from lobbyists and lawyers over the last 20 years, sources which this candidate has demonized for months on the stump. The latter wants to end the practice altogether and promises a confrontation with both parties in Congress if elected. Which candidate will actually try to bring change to Washington?