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Biden Killed Asbestos Bill For Top Donors

What a shock.

Mr. Biden killed legislation that would have hurt his top donors, relatives and friends — who all just happen to be involved in highly lucrative asbestos class action lawsuits.

From the legal journal, the AM Law Daily:

Sen. Joe Biden appears with son Beau, who was a partner in a law firm that specializes in asbestos class action lawsuits.

ELECTION 2008: The Legal Ties That Bind the Bidens

Posted by Rachel Breitman

Although he hasn’t practiced law in over 30 years, newly-minted vice presidential nominee Joe Biden remains a favorite son in the legal community.

Like all potential VPs, Joe Biden was thoroughly vetted by the Obama campaign, his relationships to lobbyists carefully analyzed. The Am Law Daily did some of its own vetting of the new nominee and the extensive legal ties that bind the Bidens. Older son Beau, 39, followed his father into politics, and is currently the attorney general of Delaware. Younger son Hunter is a partner at Oldaker, Biden & Belair, a Washington law and lobbying firm. Hunter stepped down from the firm’s lobbying affiliate in 2006 in keeping with a Senate ethics bill requirement. His firm was retained as legal counsel to the Biden campaign and paid more than $57,000 this year.

The senator has longstanding relationships with law firms that donated to his congressional races and his two bids for the White House. Top contributors for his recent run were the Law Office of Peter Angelos in Baltimore, Maryland, which donated $156,250; SimmonsCooper in East Alton, Illinois contributed $146,600; Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones in Wilmington gave $145,625; and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor in Wilmington gave $127,979.

Many of those firms have handled asbestos and bankruptcy cases, issues Biden has weighed in on from his seat on the judicial committee. Biden was a critic of the failed Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act of 2005, which would have trimmed returns on future litigation and hurt firms like SimmonsCooper, a billion dollar asbestos practice which used son Beau’s former law firm, Bifferato, Gentilotti, Biden & Balick (now Bifferato Gentilotti), as local counsel to file asbestos suits in Delaware. Angelos’ firm also represents asbestos clients, and Stargatt & Taylor has handled mass tort asbestos cases, representing court-appointed advocates for unknown future claimants–individuals representing people who have been exposed to asbestos but have not yet become sick.

On the other side of the asbestos issue, Pachulski Stang, a bankruptcy boutique, counsels companies that filed for Chapter 11 after being hit with a multitude of asbestos claims

And here is a little more information on exactly what Mr. Biden did for all of that money, from, of all places, USA Today:

Biden move had ‘intersection of interests’

Updated 8/27/2008

DENVER — Sen. Joe Biden worked to defeat a bipartisan bill designed to curb asbestos lawsuits at a time his son’s law firm was filing them in Delaware and a former aide was lobbying against the measure, according to public records and interviews.

Biden, a longtime ally of trial lawyers who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, opposed legislation that would have replaced thousands of lawsuits with a trust fund for asbestos victims. He proposed a series of amendments in 2003 and 2005 that backers of the bill viewed as “poison pills” designed to kill the bill, said Lawrence Fineran, a lobbyist who supported the measure.

Supporters — including chief sponsors Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. — said the measure would end abusive litigation that had bankrupted dozens of companies. Critics, including Biden, said it would leave some victims without compensation. In February 2006, Biden joined a majority of Democrats, including Sen. Barack Obama, in voting to defeat the bill

The Delaware Democrat had ties to opponents of the asbestos measure at the time he worked against the bill, a USA TODAY review shows:

His older son, Beau Biden, was a partner in a Wilmington law firm that was filing asbestos lawsuits and seeking to develop a specialty in that area, according to firm partner Connor Bifferato…

His former Senate aide, John T. Dorsey, was a lobbyist representing three asbestos-related clients from 2003 to 2005 who opposed the bill. In May, Dorsey became treasurer of Biden’s political action committee, records show…

Employees at three law firms that specialize in asbestos litigation are among Biden’s top 10 all-time contributors, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. Employees at those law firms have given him $411,000 since 1989, according to the center.

Asked if Biden should have disclosed his son was working on asbestos cases, Wade said: “No. Sen. Biden was a well-known opponent of the asbestos bill, and Beau Biden was a prominent attorney who was working on behalf of mesothelioma victims.”

And a look at the numbers from the Center For Responsive Politics, Open Secrets site:

(Please note that MBNA’s ranking also indicates a similarly blatant conflict of interest for Mr. Biden that we have discussed elsewhere.)

Of course Mr. Obama scored one of his (two) triumphs of his community organizing career when he asked the managers of a housing development to remove asbestos from their buildings. Which they agreed to do immediately.

But you would think that Mr. Biden’ outrageous conflicts of interest would attract some of our mainstream journalists to investigate the story.

Though that might distract them from their 24/7 Sarah Palin witch hunt.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 9th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Biden Killed Asbestos Bill For Top Donors”

  1. FloraBridges24 says:

    I opine that to receive the personal loans from creditors you must have a firm motivation. However, once I have received a bank loan, just because I wanted to buy a building.

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