Monday, October 22, 2012

Fox News' Family Ties Hypocrisy

I see you a Romney and raise you a Biden.
Charlie Gasperino recently wrote an exclusive for Fox Business claiming a new subsidiary of Hill International, a construction management firm, had seen some relative success and that when the president of Hill International, David Richter, was asked in a private meeting with investors regarding the success of the subsidiary, HillStone International, he responded that it helped having "the brother of the vice president as a partner" (according to an unnamed source of course).

Gasperino then continues his piece by attacking the vice president's brother, James Biden.

James Biden’s bio on the Hill website touts his “40 years of experience dealing with principals in business, political, legal and financial circles across the nation and internationally” that “enable him to understand the needs and perspectives of government, financial and development leaders to effectively negotiate and implement low-cost housing objectives both domestically and abroad.”

But the bio cites no specific business-related post that he has held in the past, though it says that at “the age of 22, (James) Biden was the finance chairman of his then 29-year-old brother's bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Delaware and successfully enlisted the support of national unions, political leaders and financiers across the country.”

Also not disclosed is that he is a minority partner in HillStone, in line to earn significant sums of money if the project is completed, Richter conceded in an interview.

And James Biden might have his brother Joe to thank, at least according to Wall Street analysts who cover the company. In discussions with analysts, Hill International officials haven’t been bashful about pointing to their connections to the Obama Administration when explaining why they remain hopeful that even after months of delay they believe the Iraq project will begin, possibly as early as the end of the year.

“When asked about these topics, David Richter has said that the company has access to senior levels of government,” said one analyst.
So based off of the words of analysts and speculation, James Biden's only experience was being a finance chairman for his brother's senatorial race.

Why is this article interesting?

The New Republic recently issued an interesting piece regarding Tagg Romney and the success he achieved by using his familial connections for business gain, but with one major difference between that article and Gasperino's - four times as long, The New Republic piece goes farther then just the words of some anonymous analysts and some dredged up tidbits from some old stories mentioning James Biden, or any other Biden for that matter.

Gasperino talks a little about the business dealings of James Biden and HillStone International but he offers nothing more than speculation.

"For the HillStone partners -- including Biden -- it was potentially lucrative as well. Hill International was slated to receive 51% of the $1.5 billion in revenues," wrote Gasperino.  "That meant the partners, including Justice and James Biden, would be divvying up roughly $735 million, minus expenses."

Just how many other partners are there?  What are the expenses that would be subtracted from the rough $735 million?

While Gasperino's hard-hitting exclusive summarizes a bio page from a website, Noam Scheiber's article for The New Republic goes through Tagg's resume in great detail, from internet startup eGrad to his private equity firm Solamere Capital, which depends on the Romney name for its competitive edge.
Solamere’s business model is perfectly legitimate but only available to people who are exceptionally well-connected, even by Wall Street standards. Most private-equity firms raise money from investors so they can buy up companies or stakes in companies. But Solamere invests most of its money with other private-equity firms, acting as what’s known as a fund of funds. It takes a high-powered Rolodex to enter this business, for the simple reason that the most profitable private-equity funds are extremely choosy about the money they accept. “Tagg being who he is, it helps him get into funds others wouldn’t be able to get into,” says Davis.
That sounds about as damning as Gasperino's damning line against the vice president's brother:
“Listen, his name helps him get in the door, but it doesn’t help him get business,” Richter said of Biden. “People who have important names tend to get in the door easier but it doesn’t mean success. If he had the name Obama he would get in the door easier.”
Why is the Tagg piece worth reading as opposed to the Fox News hit piece?

Because James Biden isn't flapping his gums to every major news outlet and he isn't stumping around the nation for his brother and his running mate.  Tagg Romney is and part of Tagg's sstump speech is the reinvention of his history.  Scheiber gives a little perspective into the revisionism Tagg spouts on the campaign trail while Gasperino just aims to throw some cold water on the Democratic candidate to give Mitt Romney a fighting chance in a couple weeks at the polls. 

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