The honeymoon period for Obama and Biden obviously covers the financial frailties of their families. Perhaps the media's tolerance was extended to the Bush family in the first months of the presidencies of father and son, but I don't recall it.
An Australian banking analyst-turned-financial blogger living in Bronte, a beach-side suburb of Sydney, has uncovered a financial scandal linking US Ponzi schemes to the offices of a hedge fund owned by the son and brother of the US Vice-President, Joe Biden. This does not seem to have been noted in the mainstream British press (though the Sydney Morning Herald web-site, where I read the story, from which I quote below, remarks that the Financial Times has run a series about the connections).
The story is this: John Hempton, a former Platinum Asset Management analyst (self-described as a political left-winger who took joy in attending the victory party for Maxine McKew after she unseated the former prime minister, John Howard, at the 2007 Australian election) launched his blog, Bronte Capital, last year. He made his name by detailed investigations into such organisations as the New York hedge fund-of-funds, Paradigm Global, and Royal Bank of Scotland.
Later he began investigating a US hedge fund salesman with a history of marketing what he politely deems "scuzzy product", including Ponte Negra, an alleged Ponzi scheme accused of fraud by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
To Hempton's great surprise, he found that the salesman, Jeff Schneider, also worked for Paradigm, which is owned by the Vice-President's son, Hunter Biden, and his brother, James Biden, and operated from the 17th floor of 650 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan - an office tower with a colourful past which has housed the disgraced arbitrageur Ivan Boesky and the Glencore founder Marc Rich. Ponte Negra shared an office, phone number and common marketer (Schneider) with Paradigm. More research revealed that the first time Paradigm's name had been linked to the seamier side of finance.
Before the Bidens took ownership, it was associated with a Canadian fund that was later discovered to be a Ponzi scheme, and, after the Bidens took over, it launched a joint venture with the cricket-loving Texas billionaire Allen Stanford's outfit, called the Paradigm Stanford Core Alternatives Fund.
Hempton is at pains to say he is not alleging the Bidens are crooks, though he says that their due diligence - before buying the fund and in its oversight of sales staff afterward - was sloppy. "There is no question that they housed within their doors a Ponzi, a fraud," Hempton says.My own scenario is that the Bidens are too naïve for their own good and that they have been taken in by affable salesmen like Stanford and Schneider. Nothing that they do reflects on their more exalted relative.
The same must be said of the indiscretions of the Bush twins. I am in favour of keeping family out of political campaigns, unless they themselves opt in to the process. But if the media have to drag them in, let us have even treatment.