Posted: Feb. 11, 2014
BIG BUCKS FOR BEAU
By Celia Cohen
Beau Biden collected more than $1 million in political contributions in 2013.
This does not look like the conduct of a sick man. This looks like the conduct of a man who wants to be regarded as a future candidate for governor.
Not that anybody is saying. Not that anybody ever does.
It is all still supposed to be about Biden running for a third term as attorney general in 2014.
"He has not made any bones about his love of public service. At this point he has not made any decisions. He's always taken it one year at a time," said Molly Magarik, who manages Biden's political operation.
Money talks, and maybe this money is as close as Delaware is going to get to a statement about Biden's wellbeing.
It should be noted Biden continued to raise money after the mysterious medical "procedure" in August at M.D. Anderson, the renowned cancer center in Houston, and after the gala reception that was already planned for late September at the Greenville home of his father-the-vice-president.
As a matter of fact, Biden continued to take in contributions until Dec. 31, the last day possible, for the 2013 financial disclosure reports, filed Monday with the election commissioner's office for Biden for Attorney General, his official campaign account, and for Beau PAC, his political action committee.
What a haul it was, too.
Biden brought in more than $1.2 million for the campaign and more than $162,000 for the PAC and banked nearly $1 million after expenses. The total for the campaign is particularly impressive, because the maximum individual contribution for a campaign is $1,200, while a PAC can accept unlimited amounts, although there are some restrictions on what it can pay for.
All this, and Biden has yet to draw a Republican opponent. He never did get one in 2010.
Money poured in from all over. From Luci Baines Johnson, LBJ's daughter. From former Senate colleagues of Joe Biden's, like Chris Dodd, a Democratic ex-senator from Connecticut, and Alfonse D'Amato, a Republican ex-senator from New York. From Ellen Kullman, the CEO of DuPont. All of them maxed out to the campaign at $1,200.
Even the dead did not want to be left out. The estate of Joe Jackewicz, who was a potato farmer from Magnolia, gave $1,200. Politics is full of stories of cemeteries voting, but contributing takes it to a whole new level.
There were also contributions from du Pont family members. Although the family is known for its longstanding ties to the Republicans -- Charlie Copeland, the state chair, and Laird Stabler, the national committeeman, are both du Ponts -- the party here is just too depleted to hold much sway, and the nature of money is to find its own way. Wealth chases power, and power chases money.
Contributions related to the du Ponts ranged up to $10,000, like the one from Tanya Copeland, the well-known arts patron who is the great-niece of Sergei Rachmaninoff and married into the family.
Copeland sat on the host committee for the reception at the vice president's house and split her contribution with $1,200 going to the campaign and $8,800 to the PAC for a total of $10,000. This was the plan.
"We tried to get hosts to write or raise $10,000," Magarik said.
Biden's political operation was so flush, it could turn the old biblical saying on its head. As ye receive, so shall ye give.
The PAC was particularly generous to other Democrats. The state party came away with $12,000.
It was not a coincidence that the fund raising took off with the hiring of Josh Alcorn last February. He was a bit player in the campaign for attorney general in 2006, went to Iowa for Joe Biden's short-lived presidential bid for 2008, and then signed on as the finance director for Harry Reid, the Senate's Democratic majority leader. Family ties brought him back to the area and to Beau Biden.
"Josh just clearly set the world on fire. It was the combination of Josh's organization and Beau. It was honestly very humbling to have that much support from so many folks, particularly in a non-election year," Magarik said.
All that money, and yet something is missing. How about a penny for Beau Biden's thoughts on how fit he is for this office and beyond?