Is Biden’s brother selling influence?

Biden’s youngest brother “promoted his relationship to the commander-in-chief in an Inauguration Day advertisement for the law firm he advises,” CNBC reported on Sunday, January 31, 2021.

Frank Biden, who isn’t an attorney (his background is sales), is described in the CNBC story as a “senior advisor for the Berman Law Group” of Boca Raton, Florida.

The ad focuses on a lawsuit against Florida sugar cane companies, and “features a photo of Frank Biden … with quotes regarding his relationship with the incoming president and the family name.” Contacted by CNBC, Frank Biden denied using his brother’s name to solicit clients and described himself as a seeker of “social justice.”

The Daily Mail, a U.K.-based tabloid that panders to sensationalism but seems generally accurate in its reporting, is less generous. It portrayed him as a never-do-well who embellished his educational credentials, inflated other accomplishments, and failed “to pay a cent” to the family of a man killed in an August 1999 car accident for which Frank Biden was responsible (read that story here). It says he currently lives with an American Airlines flight attendant and former Hooters waitress in a Florida home owned by her parents.

An attorney with the law firm told CNBC that Frank Biden has “been with the Berman Law Group for years” and cast the firm as seeking justice “for the little guy” against “corporate behemoths.”

Influence peddling is illegal; name-dropping is not. Whether the ad crossed an ethics line would be for the local bar association to determine; whether it violated the law would be for a prosecutor, and ultimately a judge or jury, to determine.

Joe Biden can’t tell his brother what to do, and nothing in the story suggests he’s a willing party to this. Bill Clinton, while in office, had a dodgy younger brother trying to make the most of his famous older brother’s celebrity, too.

We don’t get to choose our families. (Sigh) But we don’t have to coddle or cuddle them, either. That’s voluntary.

Photo: Joe Biden posing with his brother Frank’s main squeeze in August 2016 at a White House state dinner

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