- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
Biden routes campaign cash to family, their firms
Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. has paid more than $2 million in campaign cash to his family members, their businesses and employers over the years, a practice that watchdogs criticize as rife with potential conflicts of interest.
The money largely flowed from the coffers of Mr. Biden’s failed presidential campaign during the past two years to a company that employs his sister and longtime campaign manager, Valerie Biden Owens, according to campaign disclosure filings.
The senator from Delaware also directed campaign legal work to a Washington lobbying and law firm founded by his son R. Hunter Biden, the disclosures show.
Putting family members and their companies on the political payroll is legal if the work is legitimate and charged at market rates, according to the Federal Election Commission. Still, public watchdog groups have long criticized such arrangements.
• Explore different election-night scenarios with our ‘Road to 270’ interactive electoral college map
“Even though legal within restraints, it’s not something I view as completely ethical,” said Craig Holman, legislative director for Public Citizen, a campaign finance watchdog organization. “Any candidate ought to shy away from that.”
Aides to Mr. Biden said all of the payments he has made to family members or their employers were aboveboard.
“While no Biden family members are being paid by the Obama-Biden campaign, one of Joe Biden´s greatest political strengths and secret weapon has always been his sister Valerie, starting with her role managing his David-versus-Goliath upset Senate victory in 1972,” said Biden spokesman David Wade.
“Valerie is a well-known and highly regarded political operative in Democratic politics in Delaware and nationally, and her firm has worked on top races from Michigan to Texas. End of story,” Mr. Wade said.
Mr. Biden is hardly alone among members of Congress whose campaigns hold close ties to family. FEC records also show that Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain’s political action committee, Straight Talk America, paid more than $15,000 in 2006 to his wife, Cindy.
McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said the payment reimbursed Mrs. McCain for catering expenses she had covered in connection with an election night party.
The majority of Biden campaign money tied to family - $1.8 million - was for media consulting bills to Joe Slade White & Co., where Mrs. Owens is a top executive. The firm did not return telephone and e-mail messages.
About the Author
Jim McElhatton is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell entangled in MetLife lawsuit
- HHS nominee got $1.2M at 'zero' salary job at Wal-Mart
- Federal workers watch 'Star Trek' on clock
- Sen. Menendez pal Salomon Melgen collected $20 million from Medicare
- U.S. picks up $700 million tab for coalition's food and laundry in Afghanistan
Latest Blog Entries
By Joy Overbeck
Redemption by government is futile
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Obama taunts GOP, takes nationally televised victory lap on Obamacare
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Chavez seizes Cargill factory
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.