Politico: My, but "Middle Class Joe" Biden and his family seem ... swampy

And my, but isn’t this attack convenient after this week’s debate. That’s not to say that Politico’s Ben Schreckinger didn’t do a good job in delving into the finances of one of America’s most prominent politicians and his family. The timing is at least exquisite for the populists arrayed against him, though.

Basically, this paints the Bidens with the same brush as Democrats paint the Trumps, only with less gloss:

In the late summer of 2006 Joe Biden’s son Hunter and Joe’s younger brother, James, purchased the firm. On their first day on the job, they showed up with Joe’s other son, Beau, and two large men and ordered the hedge fund’s chief of compliance to fire its president, according to a Paradigm executive who was present.

After the firing, the two large men escorted the fund’s president out of the firm’s midtown Manhattan office, and James Biden laid out his vision for the fund’s future. “Don’t worry about investors,” he said, according to the executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of retaliation. “We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden.”

At the time, the senator was just months away from both assuming the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and launching his second presidential bid. According to the executive, James Biden made it clear he viewed the fund as a way to take money from rich foreigners who could not legally give money to his older brother or his campaign account. “We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company,” the executive remembers James Biden saying.

As Politico later tweeted, that sounded an awful lot like James Biden was trying to curry foreign influence for Joe’s presidential bid. According to the three Paradigm sources in the meeting who spoke with Schreckinger, it sounded like that to Beau Biden too, who made his displeasure known immediately:

At this, the executive recalled, Beau Biden, who was then running for attorney general of Delaware, turned bright red. He told his uncle, “This can never leave this room, and if you ever say it again, I will have nothing to do with this.”

Apparently it did, only several years too late. As Schreckinger writes, rumors and suspicions about the fortunate fortunes of the Bidens have percolated for decades, but have only occasionally bubbled to the top. Rudy Giuliani had to retreat from his public crusade to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden in Ukraine back in May after an eruption of outrage over using foreign sources for oppo research. However, the New York Times raised the same concerns about Hunter’s work in Ukraine earlier in the same month. At nearly the same time, Peter Schweitzer raised issues about Hunter’s work with John Kerry’s son in acting as agents for China.

Schreckinger, however, declares that his report is the first one that shows James and Hunter “explicitly sought to make money off of Joe’s political connections.” More than that, it shows them connected to fraud and lawbreaking:

In James and Hunter’s five-year tenure, Paradigm became associated with a number of alleged and confirmed frauds, including Allen Stanford’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, while seeking to draw on their powerful relative’s political allies for financing.

The pattern of dubious associations and possible conflicts of interest would continue later with Hunter’s foreign dealings, which led him to a lucrative appointment to the board of a Ukrainian oil company and to deals with firms connected to the Chinese state. But it started far earlier.

This might explain why Joe hesitated for a while to get into the race. He claimed at the time that he was concerned about personal attacks on his family, which didn’t make much sense outside the Beltway. Hunter had successfully dealt with a substance abuse problem, but that’s hardly fodder for personal attacks. This, however, is hardly personal — especially given constant Democratic attacks on Trump and his family for their business practices. It’s fair game, and might be a very large headache in a populist electorate.

The timing on this exposé seems interesting, too. If Biden hadn’t maintained his commanding polling lead over the field after the first debate, would we be seeing this? Would these sources have bothered to come forward at all? These insiders didn’t seem too keen on setting the record straight when Biden was joining Barack Obama’s ticket in 2008, even though the “planeloads of cash” pitch took place two years prior. They also remained curiously quiet while Biden weighed a presidential bid four years ago, even though Hunter and James had long since left Paradigm after all of the funny business there.

The curious timing of this suggests that those who knew about it were content to leave the Bidens alone as long as they didn’t threaten progressives’ ambitions. Now that he’s frustrating those ambitions, the long knives have belatedly come out. It makes one wonder who else in the Democratic firmament with decades in the Beltway have similar issues but know how to keep their heads down and play along.