Monday, August 25, 2008

Talking about Biden's Son

My readers are no doubt aware that the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for President, Sen. Barack Obama, has now selected Joseph Biden, a sort of Senate foreign-policy mandarin, as his running mate.

This means that Biden, and his immediate family members, come in for the usual scrutiny that follows such an announcement.

One of the first consequences of the new scrutiny involves Biden's son, Hunter, who was for a time the president of a hedge fund group, Paradigm Companies.

Hunter and his uncle James Biden (the Senator's brother) are now engaged in civil litigation with Anthony Lotito Jr., a former Paradigm partner. Lotito accuses the Bidens, and they in turn accuse him, of fraud.

The Washington Post had a big write up on the matter yesterday.

What piques my interest is the possibility that Senator Biden at some point made a strategic decision, that it was better for him politically to have a son in the hedge fund industry than to have a son who is a lobbyist. The negative fall-out woiuld be lesser in the former case than in the latter.

Lotito's complaint: Senator Biden "was concerned with the impact that Hunter's lobbying activities might have on his expected campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination," and, "told Lotito that, in light of these concerns, his brother had asked him to seek Lotito's assistance in finding employment for Hunter in a non-lobbying capacity."

I wish hedge funds well, because in a sense they are a proxy for my own broader belief in a vigorous capitalist financial environment. So, I'm happy that the political climate is such that a powerful politician would set his son up in a hedge fund as a way of getting him out of harm's way.

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