President Joe Biden’s brother, Frank, promoted his relationship with the Commander-in-Chief in an Inauguration Day advertisement for the law firm he advised.
Frank Biden is a non-attorney senior advisor to the Berman Law Group. The company is based in Boca Raton, Florida. The Frank Biden ad was printed in the Jan. 20 Daily Business Review, also based in Florida.
The ad focuses on a lawsuit the company is bringing against a group of sugar cane companies in Florida. It includes a photo of Frank Biden as well as quotes on his relationship with the new president and family name.
In an email to CNBC, Frank Biden said he didn’t use his brother’s name to attract customers.
“I never used my brother to get clients for my company. Our company has been involved for a long time [with] this lawsuit. Social justice is something I’ve been involved in for years, “said Frank Biden.” I will never be employed by a lobbyist or lobby company. “
After CNBC emailed the firm’s co-founders, Matthew Moore, one of the Berman Law Group’s attorneys, responded on behalf of the firm. CNBC asked the company if Frank Biden would continue to use the Biden name in future advertisements while his brother was president. The company’s answer provided no answers to these questions.
“Frank Biden has been with the Berman Law Group for years. He is committed to social justice and campaigns against corporate sizes that fall victim to the little guy,” said Moore in an email. “The Big Sugar Fall has been around for more than two years and it’s the flagship of corporate influence. We are honored to have Frank Biden with us as our social justice leader,” he added.
A White House spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
Following the publication of this story, a White House official in Biden told CNBC that the president’s name should not be used in any commercial activity that suggests any form of endorsement or support.
“It is the policy of this White House that the president’s name should not be used in connection with any commercial activity, to suggest his endorsement or support, or to be understood in any way that could reasonably be implied,” the official said late Wednesday opposite CNBC.
The focus of the ad is promoting the company’s work on a class action lawsuit against a group of sugar cane growers in South Florida. The ad and Biden himself highlight the relationship with his brother, who is now president, as a reason to partner with the company.
“The two Biden brothers have long been committed to bringing environmental issues to the fore. The president-elect has vowed to rejoin the Paris Agreement and, for example, wants to set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gases,” the ad said in the newspaper.
“My brother is a role model for how to do this job,” says Frank Biden in the ad. “One of its central tenets is that one should never question or blame another man or woman’s motives. That way you avoid an inequality that prevents any clash. You can of course let someone else’s judgment in Ask a question and that’s what We’re bringing this to justice. “
The ad suggests that Frank Biden Company hired it because of Biden’s “reputation and motivation for dealing with philanthropic, social and environmental issues that came up”.
It then lists the company’s 800 phone number, along with contact information for Frank Biden and the company’s founders. The firm’s website states that they specialize in not only class actions, but also corporate law, real estate law, and government relations.
This is not the first time Frank Biden has announced his family name while his brother was in a position of power.
ABC News reported extensively early last year on many occasions when he used his name to support affiliated companies and groups. In 2011, Frank Biden referred to his last name when his brother was vice president.
Politico and other outlets reported other attempts by members of the Biden family, including President’s son Hunter and his other brother James, to use their last name in business opportunities during the 2020 presidential election. Hunter Biden announced in December that he was being investigated by the Delaware federal prosecutor’s office on his “tax affairs”.
The January 20 ad with Frank Biden raised some concerns among political ethics experts.
Richard Painter, chief White House ethics attorney in the George W. Bush administration, said Frank Biden had the right to promote the Biden name but not him or the government.
The painter said either Biden or administrative officials should encourage Frank Biden not to use her name and convey the message to high-ranking officials not to bother with him.
“The Biden White House must have a very strict protocol on the use of the Biden name,” Painter said in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday. “Brothers, law firm employees, and anyone else using the Biden name should not address the President or anyone else who works with the President.”
While working in the Bush administration, Painter worked as part of a team of attorneys who contacted legal representatives of Bush family members and employees to encourage them not to use their last names for business purposes.