A new book says President Biden’s father got a job in the 1980s with a scandal-ridden labor group that continued to raise federal funds despite concerns from officials in Washington about financial irregularities.
Joe Biden Sr.’s role on the Council for Labor and Industry (CLI) in Philadelphia is not widely known and may represent an early example of the Biden family leveraging the power of the senator-turned-president – previous examples involving the first son Hunter Biden and the brother of President Jim Biden.
“The Bidens: Inside the Fifty Year Rise of the First FamilyBy Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger, comes out Tuesday and includes an account of elder Biden’s late-career transition in the 1970s from used car salesman to real estate agent.
Biden Sr. was initially successful in selling properties in Delaware, but when the recession of the early 1980s and the housing crisis hit, “he landed a client with less exposure to market forces,” according to an excerpt. from the book shared with The Post.
The CLI was a quasi-governmental organization run by union members with public funding, ostensibly to promote employment. The organization and its members have been prosecuted on charges of illegal behavior.
Biden Sr. reportedly worked with the group for at least 4.5 years – during which the U.S. Department of Commerce’s General Inspector’s Office in 1985 alleged misconduct and recommended the cessation of federal funding, according to the book.
Funding was not interrupted, however. It is unclear what role if any then-Sen. Biden played in that decision.
The book says that “investigators from the US Department of Commerce’s Office of Inspector General uncovered financial irregularities and recommended that the department cut funding to the board, but they were rejected by superiors.”
Congress has supervisory powers and can exercise indirect influence over federal agencies, although the Republican Reagan administration controlled executive power at the time.
Later, when CLI collapsed in a new scandal, “the US Department of Housing and Urban Development weighed in on a report that criticized the city’s commerce department for not controlling the council.”
Biden Sr. placed a series of newspaper ads – signed by JR Biden – in the Philadelphia Inquirer in December 1981 and January 1982 on behalf of CLI, offering to rent space in a warehouse complex, the book says.
CLI was then operating the Wissahickon Industrial Center in Philadelphia. In 1981, Philadelphia officials canceled CLI’s contract to store the city’s voting machines in the facility due to water leaks and faulty temperature control – apparently explaining the available space offered by the elder Biden.
Biden, first elected to the US Senate since Delaware in 1972, has been a long-time ally of unions, including in Pennsylvania. In 1979, he was the keynote speaker of the AFL-CIO of Pennsylvania for its annual dinner in Philadelphia.
CLI was originally known as the Council for the Revitalization of Jobs and Industry in Philadelphia – or CREIP – but was renamed after James Mahoney, an AFL-CIO official from the A state treasurer of the CLI, was indicted on charges of tax and mail evasion in late 1979. He pleaded guilty to offering contracts to companies if they performed free work in his house.
The rebranded CLI faced many subsequent legal issues. In 1982, the union group owed $ 500,000 in unpaid municipal taxes
According to businessman Rich Thoma, who worked with CLI, Biden Sr. was still working at the group’s headquarters as of June 1986.
Thoma told Schreckinger he saw Biden in the office the same day CLI executive director James Toomey allegedly tried to extort him by saying that a dispute over loan terms could be resolved if he gave to the organization a stake in its hard disk storage company. , called People & Technology. Toomey has since passed away.
CLI folded after losing support from Pennsylvania Democrats.
In 1989, a nonprofit entrepreneur accused the organization of misconduct, and Secretary of State for Labor Harris Wofford – a future U.S. Democratic senator – called for criminal investigations. The city cut the funds.
The White House did not offer a comment on this story.
“The Bidens” contains further reports of the often murky ties between Biden and his family’s business ventures, which received severe media coverage during last year’s presidential campaign, especially for apparent links between the then candidate and his son’s trade relations in Ukraine and China.
According to a book excerpt published by The Post, Jim Biden openly bragged about selling influence to his older brother as he and Hunter Biden sought to take over a New York-based hedge fund.
“Don’t worry about the investors,” he reportedly told a business executive. “We have people all over the world who want to invest in Joe Biden… invest in this business.