The family of former Vice President Joe Biden has earned millions of dollars since the start of his political career, often from dealings with heavy political overtones.
Biden, the frontrunner among 2020 Democrats, often touts his middle-class bonafides on the campaign trail. Although Biden did not become a multi-millionaire until he left the White House in 2017, the same cannot be said of his family. In fact, several members of the Biden clan became immensely wealthy over the span of the former vice president’s 40-year political career.
Breitbart News is providing an in-depth breakdown of a few instances in which Joe Biden’s political career and his family’s financial interests seemed to intersect.
1. Joe Biden’s younger brother, James Biden, secured generous bank loans.
In the wake of Joe Biden’s upset election to the U.S. Senate in 1972, his younger brother James was able to secure a series of generous bank loans to start a Delaware night club.
Although James Biden had no business experience and a net worth of less than $10,000 at the time, he was able to arrange more than $160,000 in start-up capital for the venture. When the nightclub proved to be unsuccessful, generating more than $500,000 of debt by 1975, James Biden and his business partners were thrown a life-line by a Pennsylvania bank that loaned him a further $300,000.
During the same time period James Biden was receiving the extensive lines of credit, Joe Biden was sitting on the Senate Banking Committee, which had purview over the financial sector. A specific jurisdiction of the committee was the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which provides bailouts to banks if they should become over-leveraged.
2. Joe Biden’s top campaign contributor hired his youngest son Hunter right out of law school.
Shortly after Joe Biden was reelected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, his largest campaign contributor, the credit card issuer MBNA Corp., hired his son for an undisclosed role. The job raised eyebrows from good government groups because MBNA employees had just donated $63,000 to Joe Biden’s reelection campaign in what appeared to be a coordinated manner to sidestep federal campaign finance regulations.
Clouding the picture even further was that, at the time, Hunter Biden was a 26-year-old recent graduate of Yale Law School with no prior banking or business experience. Both father and son defended the job offer, claiming nothing improper had or would result because of the arrangement.
“Unfortunately, no matter where I went to work, some people would make an issue of it,” the younger Biden told the Delaware News Journal in November 1996 when the job was announced.
Despite his role being unknown at the time of his hiring, when Hunter Biden left the company in 1998 to join the Clinton-era Commerce Department it was as a senior vice president.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Joe Biden was championing bankruptcy reform legislation endorsed by financial interests and credit card companies like MBNA.
3. An MBNA executive purchased Biden’s house for the full asking price in a deal that appeared facilitated by the company.
A senior MBNA executive purchased Biden’s 10,000 square foot colonial mansion in the Wilmington, Delaware, suburbs for the asking price of $1.2 million in February 1996. The sale garnered notice because larger and newer homes in the vicinity sold for less. The issue became a minor campaign problem for Biden’s reelection but was quickly dismissed when the senator provided local media appraisal forms showing his home was worth the value for what it was sold.
Byron York, however, investigated the matter in an exposé for the American Spectator and found that properties appraised around the same value in the vicinity had “sold for a good deal less” than at what they were valued on paper.
“In comparison, it appears [the MBNA executive] simply paid Biden’s full asking price,” York wrote. “And, according to people familiar with the situation, the house needed quite a bit of work; contractors and their trucks descended on the house for months after the purchase.”
As York also noted, it appeared that MBNA may have played a role in facilitating the purchase. Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that “in 1996 MBNA reimbursed [the executive] $330,115 for expenses arising from the move.” Of that total, $210,000 “was to make up for a loss [the executive] suffered on the sale of his Maryland home.”
4. Hunter Biden remained on MBNA’s payroll while Joe Biden was writing bankruptcy reform legislation.
Throughout the early 2000s, Hunter Biden remained on MBNA’s payroll as a consultant while his father was writing and pushing the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. The arrangement, which did not become public until after the law was passed, started in 2001 after Hunter Biden had left his position in the Commerce Dept. MBNA was paid monthly consulting fees, with some claiming they ranged upwards of $100,000, to advise the company on online banking issues.
The 2005 bankruptcy tightened regulations to make it extremely more difficult to declare bankruptcy. It was heavily favored by MBNA and other giants in the banking and finance sectors. Many consumer protection advocates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have claimed the bill benefited special interests at the expense of consumers. Some have even suggested the law only served to hasten and aggravate the recession of the late 2000s.
As previously reported by the New York Times, Biden worked against many of his own fellow Democrats in Congress to ensure the final version of the bill was free of provisions opposed by companies like MBNA.
Biden “was one of five Democrats in March 2005 who voted against a proposal to require credit card companies to provide more effective warnings to consumers about the consequences of paying only the minimum amount due each month,” the Times noted.
5. Joe Biden paid his family members with campaign cash.
During his failed 2008 presidential campaign, Joe Biden paid more than $2 million to his family members and their business. According to the Washington Times, the money went to a company that was a long-time employer of Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens. Biden also directed funds to a law firm started by his old campaign treasurer, which at the time also employed his youngest son Hunter.
6. James and Hunter Biden sought to monetize off Joe Biden’s political standing.
In 2006, close to when Joe Biden assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and launched his second presidential campaign, James and Hunter Biden purchased a hedge fund called Paradigm Global Advisors. Although neither man had a strong background in finance, James and Hunter Biden reportedly believed they could leverage Joe Biden’s political connections to their benefits.
“Don’t worry about investors,” James Biden purportedly told Paradigm’s senior leadership upon taking over the fund, as reported by Politico. “We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden.”
Paradigm’s executives claim that James and Hunter Biden saw the hedge fund as a way to “take money from rich foreigners who could not legally give money” to Joe Biden’s campaign account.
“We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company,” James Biden allegedly told Paradigm’s staff.
Hunter and James also tried to solicit labor unions to invest their pension funds in Paradigm by relying on Joe Biden’s long record of advocating in favor of collective bargaining.
The efforts proved to unsuccessful, though, with James and Hunter Biden choosing to strip and sell the company off by 2010 after a number of bad decisions, including partnering with a Ponzi scheme.
7. James Biden’s received a $1.5 billion contract to build houses in Iraq while Joe Biden was overseeing the region.
After his foray into the world of high finance ended disastrously, James Biden joined Hillstone International LLC as a vice president in 2010. The company, a subsidiary of Hill International, at the time, was pursuing technology and construction projects around the globe.
Although the company had been losing money for some time, James Biden’s arrival resulted in something of a reversal in fortune. Within six months of James Biden joining the firm, Hillstone was the recipient of $1.5 billion dollar contract to build 100,000 houses in war-torn Iraq. The deal, which was never finalized because outside funding failed to materialize, quickly caught attention as Joe Biden was overseeing the Obama administration’s policy in the region.
Both the Obama White House and Hillstone denied Joe Biden had anything to do with the deal, pointing to the fact the contract was awarded through a South Korean group working to build homes in Iraq. Despite the denials, Irvin Richter, the founder of Hill International, did admit James Biden may have had something to do with the deal.
“Listen, his name helps him get in the door, but it doesn’t help him get business,” Richter told Fox Business in 2012 when discussing James Biden. “People who have important names tend to get in the door easier but it doesn’t mean success. If he had the name Obama he would get in the door easier.”
Complicating matters was the fact James Biden was likely to get rich if the deal went through. Fox Business reported that a group of minority partners, which included James Biden, owned 49 percent of Hillstone. The other 51 percent was owned by the company’s parent group, Hill International. Given Hillstone’s profit breakdown structure, James Biden and the other minority partners would have been eligible to split more than $735 million after the deal was completed
8. Hunter Biden’s firm scored a $1.5 billion deal with the Bank of China only days after Joe Biden and his youngest son visited the country.
Peter Schweizer, a senior contributor at Breitbart News, revealed in his bestselling book Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends that Hunter Biden’s firm signed a multi-billion dollar with a subsidiary of the state-owned Bank of China only ten days after he visited the country with his father aboard Air Force Two.
In a SiriusXM Breitbart News Tonight radio interview from last year, Schweizer explained how the Biden-China deal unfolded:
“In December of 2013, Vice President Joe Biden flies to Asia for a trip, and the centerpiece for that trip is a visit to Beijing, China,” said Schweizer. “To put this into context, in 2013, the Chinese have just exerted air rights over the South Pacific, the South China Sea. They basically have said, ‘If you want to fly in this area, you have to get Chinese approval. We are claiming sovereignty over this territory.’ Highly controversial in Japan, in the Philippines, and in other countries. Joe Biden is supposed to be going there to confront the Chinese. Well, he gets widely criticized on that trip for going soft on China. So basically, no challenging them, and Japan and other countries are quite upset about this.”