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Joe Biden & Relatives Have Ties to Asbestos Law Firm

Posted Aug 27, 2008 6:07 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An Illinois law firm that specializes in plaintiffs asbestos litigation reportedly has close ties with Sen. Joe Biden, the expected running mate of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, and several of Biden's relatives.

A brother and son of Biden obtained a $1 million investment from SimmonsCooper in 2006, which has since been repaid, to purchase a hedge fund company, writes the Los Angeles Times. The son, Hunter, is a Yale Law School graduate who works as a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington, D.C. The brother is a Pennsylvania businessman.

And when it came time to send asbestos work to a law firm in Delaware, it was natural for SimmonsCooper to select the one at which another Biden son, Beau, worked, a former managing partner of the asbestos firm tells the newspaper.

"Beau, 39, a former federal prosecutor, had just joined the firm--which became Bifferato, Gentilotti & Biden--and was looking to do more complex litigation work," the Times writes. "Beau Biden, who is now the attorney general of Delaware and a captain in a National Guard unit heading to Iraq, did not respond to requests for comment."

Meanwhile, employees of the SimmonsCooper firm have donated around $200,000 to Biden's campaign efforts since 2001, during a period when Congress was voting on asbestos-related legislation, the article states.

"A spokesman for the senator said that all the SimmonsCooper business deals with his sons and brother were above board, involved no special favors and were arranged without the senator's knowledge," the article continues.

SimmonsCooper representatives described as "ludicrous" any implication that there might be a connection between business deals concerning Biden's family and official Senate actions, the newspaper reports.

Related coverage:

USA Today: "Biden move had 'intersection of interests' "

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