Remember when Barack Obama wanted to change the manner business got conducted in Washington? If that seems a long time ago, it retreated further in the distance when Team Obama admitted yesterday that running mate Joe Biden had a son consulting MBNA, a credit company who had a lot to lose if a bankruptcy bill Obama opposed became law. Biden actively supported the bill, which made their investment in consultants look wide indeed:
During the years that Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. was helping the credit card industry win passage of a law making it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy protection, his son had a consulting agreement that lasted five years with one of the largest companies pushing for the changes, aides to Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign acknowledged Sunday.
Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, received consulting fees from the MBNA Corporation from 2001 to 2005 for work on online banking issues. Aides to Mr. Obama, who chose Mr. Biden as his vice-presidential running mate on Saturday, would not say how much the younger Mr. Biden, who works as both a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington, had received, though a company official had once described him as having a $100,000 a year retainer. But Obama aides said he had never lobbied for MBNA and that there was nothing improper about the payments. …
Mr. Biden’s support for the bankruptcy changes, which were signed into law in 2005, puts him at odds with Mr. Obama of Illinois, who opposed the bill and has criticized the presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona, for supporting it. Consumer advocates and other Democratic allies remain sharply critical of Mr. Biden’s actions, saying in recent days that they could hamper the campaign’s efforts to attack the Republicans over their handling of the nation’s credit crisis.
The timing on this just has to be coincidental, right? Hunter Biden goes to work for $100,000 a year as a consultant to MBNA, just when the Republicans come to power and bankruptcy reform becomes a hot topic. After paying a half-million dollars to Biden’s son, Biden himself crosses the aisle and defends the bill as well as the credit companies lobbying Congress for its passage. Once the bill passes, though, Hunter Biden has to look for work elsewhere.
Coincidence? Uh …. sure.
That doesn’t mean that the bill itself was bad, by the way. Bankruptcy had become too easy an out for debtors, and the system needed reform. However, Barack Obama has hammered McCain on this exact same bill, claiming that he sided with corporate interests over the welfare of average Americans. At least McCain voted his conscience on the bill, rather than protect his family’s pecuniary interests.
Obama has built his campaign on ending these kinds of lobbying relationships and their effects on politics. Now he has to abandon both his criticism of the bankruptcy bill as well as throw lobbying reform under the bus. According to the New York Times, Obama considered this when he chose Biden as his running mate. What does that tell you about the character and integrity of Barack Obama?