Aug 27, 2008
USA Today has a story today about Joe Biden’s ties to lawyers who specialize in asbestos litigation and his votes on measures that would affect this area of the law. (Hat tip: WSJ Law Blog.) Here’s the lede (yes, that’s how we spell it in journalism) of the story:
Sen. Joe Biden worked to defeat a bipartisan bill designed to curb asbestos lawsuits at a time his son’s law firm was filing them in Delaware and a former aide was lobbying against the measure, according to public records and interviews.
The story notes that three of Biden’s largest contributors over his career have been firms specializing in plaintiff-side asbestos work. (The employees or PACs gave, not the firms themselves.)
You can probably see where this is going. The story doesn’t name the firms, but a quick trip to Open Secrets, the Web site of the Center for Responsive Politics, shows that one of them — the one that gave the most money, in fact — is the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos. Employees of Angelos’ firm have given Biden $156,250 since 1989, making the firm Biden’s fourth-largest contributor.
As you can imagine, Angelos’ lawyers were also kind to Biden during his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president this year. Employees of the firm gave him $50,750, making them his third-largest contributor.
USA Today notes that Barack Obama has touted his vote for 2005’s Class Action Fairness Act “as evidence he was willing to stand up to trial lawyers.” I wonder if that will be enough to keep Angelos’ lawyers from directing a whole mess of money Obama and Biden’s way this fall. I doubt it, especially since, as the story points out, Obama, like Biden, voted against a series of measures that would have limited asbestos litigation.
CARYN TAMBER, Legal Affairs Writer