James Biden was wiretapped by FBI in bribery investigation

 December 18, 2023

Joe Biden's brother, James Biden, was caught on an FBI wiretap as part of a bribery investigation.

At the time, James was looking at starting a "consulting" business with associates of corrupt lawyer Richard "Dickie" Scruggs, who went to jail for his efforts to buy off a judge.

James Biden had accepted $100,000 from Scruggs years earlier in a separate scheme involving a settlement with Big Tobacco.

James Biden linked to bribe

It's another winding tale of Biden family corruption that begins at the start of Biden's career as a senator from Delaware.

Through Mississippi Sen. John Stennis (D), Biden befriended Steve Patterson, who served on Biden's failed 1988 presidential campaign and eventually connected James Biden and Scruggs.

In 1998, Scruggs began aggressively leveraging his Biden connections as he pursued a lucrative settlement with major tobacco companies that required federal legislation to waive anti-trust provisions.

"I probably wouldn’t have hired him if he wasn’t the senator’s brother,” Scruggs told the Washington Post.

Joe Biden was initially opposed to the settlement, but later became one of its biggest backers after Scruggs paid $100,000 to Lion Hall, the "consulting" firm that James still runs with his wife and business partner, Sara.

"Jim Biden’s consulting work has never involved speaking with or providing access to his brother for this or any other client,” a lawyer for James Biden said.

The recording

In 2007, as his brother made a second bid for the presidency, James was again wrapped up with Scruggs. This time, the FBI got involved.

James Biden, Patterson, and a lawyer named Tim Balducci were discussing the formation of a new consulting business in Mississippi that would be called Patterson, Balducci & Biden. (James has done a lot of "consulting" over the years.)

At the time, Balducci passed off a bribe to a judge on behalf of Scruggs, who had a multi-million-dollar stake in a certain case. Scruggs wanted to buy the judge for $40,000.

After a meeting with Scruggs where he sought advice on the consulting firm, Balducci told James Biden what he had said to Scruggs. The FBI was listening in.

"I told him about the real Washington presence, that this was not going to be a bull---, you know, a shingle hung somewhere in the window. That this was a real deal, that Sara was coming on, you know, as a named partner, an equity share in the venture, that we were changing the name of the firm to include her. … Hunter was going to be involved, and you were going to be involved,” Balducci said. 

Later that day, James told Balducci that he had a "great conversation" with Scruggs who said, "I think you can make a lot of money."

Scruggs ended up serving jail time, but James was never questioned by prosecutors.

In a statement, Biden said that he and his wife "had serious discussions" years ago about "starting a firm that would provide legal and consulting services," but the venture never went anywhere.

The grift goes on

Recently, James has come under scrutiny for checks he wrote to his brother that Republicans have described as kickbacks.

Biden's defenders say the checks were benign loan repayments and nothing more, but Republicans say one of the checks was paid for with laundered Chinese money that flowed through Lion Hall Group.

James is facing a subpoena from House Republicans, who opened an impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden last week.

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