Joe Biden – "Lunch Bucket Joe" – likes to remind America as often as possible what a regular guy he is. But beneath his carefully crafted narrative is a familiar story of old-fashioned crony capitalism. Or, in this case, we could call it bro-ny capitalism.
Starting in November 2010, Joe Biden's younger brother, James Biden, was named executive vice president of HillStone, the housing subsidiary of a company called Hill International. Hill International owned 51% of HillStone. A group of partners, including James Biden, owned the other 49%.
James Biden had no documented work history in the construction industry, but six months after he joined HillStone, the company scored a $1.5 billion construction contract from the U.S. government to build 100,000 homes in war-torn Iraq. The minority partners in HillStone would pocket around $735 million of that contract. Which means, minus expenses for the actual construction work, James Biden and the rest of his minority partners would stand to pocket millions of dollars.
Analysts were puzzled how HillStone, which was a brand new construction business created in 2010, got such a sweet contract. In a meeting with investors, the president of HillStone's parent company, David Richter, reportedly told them that "…it really helps to have the brother of the vice president as a partner."
Other lucrative government deals materialized for Hill International, including in 2012, a $22 million contract to manage the construction of State Department offices.
James Biden wasn't HillStone's only connection to Vice President Biden. HillStone's president, Kevin Justice, grew up in Delaware and was a close friend of Joe Biden's sons, Beau and Hunter.
You can never accuse him of failing to take care of his own.
However, by the beginning of 2012, Kevin Justice claimed that James Biden and David Richter (who was president of Hill International) were trying to dilute Justice's ownership stake in the $1.5 billion Iraq project deal and control all the money. Kevin Justice left the company in February 2012.
As you'll see on the show tonight, crony capitalism absolutely thrived under Joe Biden. You can never accuse him of failing to take care of his own. He's an expert at keeping things in the family. That is Joe Biden's biggest political achievement.