The L.A. Times is just popped a big story the Obama-Biden folks don't want to be reading the night the Delaware senator introduces himself to the nation: a potential conflict of interest involving Biden and one of the nation's biggest asbestos litigation law firms — which also happens to be his top contributor.
The report seems to provide fuel to Obama supporters enraged Illinois senator picked a running mate with such deep ties to the D.C. cash-politics-lobbying world.
Investigative reporters Chuck Neubauer and Tom Hamburger:
"When Joe Biden’s brother and son wanted to buy a hedge fund company two years ago, they turned for financing to a law firm that had lobbied the Delaware senator’s office on an important piece of business in Congress — and in fact had just benefited from his vote.
The firm promised James and Hunter Biden that it would invest $2 million, and it quickly delivered half of that sum.
That deal eventually fell through and the money was returned. But it highlighted the close ties that Joe Biden and his family have developed with SimmonsCooper, an Illinois law firm that specializes in asbestos litigation — a multimillion-dollar line of business that was under threat in Congress.
In addition to providing financing for the hedge fund deal, SimmonsCooper picked the law firm of another of Biden’s sons, Beau, to work with it on dozens of asbestos cases in Delaware. "It was only natural that we worked with my friend Beau Biden and his firm," said Jeffrey Cooper, longtime former managing partner of SimmonsCooper.
And SimmonsCooper employees have donated about $200,000 to Biden’s campaign efforts since 2001, making the firm his No. 1 donor. All told, SimmonsCooper employees provided much more money to Biden than to any other senator during that period."