A son of Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden was paid an undisclosed amount of money as a consultant by MBNA, the largest employer in Delaware, during the years the senator supported legislation that was promoted by the credit card industry and opposed by consumer groups.

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign said Biden helped forge a bipartisan compromise on the measure, which is now law and makes it harder for consumers to obtain bankruptcy protection in the courts.

MBNA’s consulting payments to Hunter Biden, first reported by The New York Times, followed his departure in 2001 from the company, where he had been an executive.

Obama opposed the bankruptcy law, enacted in 2005, while Biden supported it.

David Wade, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said that “after working in the Clinton administration in the Department of Commerce on Internet privacy and online commerce issues, Hunter consulted for five years as an expert on these very same issues at a time of enormous expansion in online banking.”

At the time Hunter Biden was receiving consulting payments from MBNA, he also was a Washington lobbyist at a firm he had co-founded.

“He was not a lobbyist for MBNA, and his work had absolutely nothing to do with the bankruptcy bill. Zero. Nothing,” said Wade.

MBNA employees have poured more than $200,000 into Biden’s Senate campaigns over the past two decades, making donors working for the credit card company the senator’s largest source of campaign money.

In a separate matter in which Hunter Biden’s lobbying activities were referenced, he and Biden’s brother Jim have been sued for allegedly defrauding an ex-business partner.

In the lawsuit filed last year in state court in New York, Anthony Lotito says that he got a call from Jim Biden in early 2006 saying that Sen. Biden was concerned with the impact that Hunter’s lobbying activities might have on the senator’s expected campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

According to the lawsuit, Jim Biden said his brother had asked him to seek Lotito’s assistance in finding employment for Hunter in a non-lobbying capacity.

The lawsuit says that Lotito later was cut out of a business arrangement with Jim and Hunter Biden to purchase a Wall Street hedge fund.

AP
8/25/8