Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, a famed Mississippi trial attorney, was tantalizingly close to a historic deal to force tobacco companies to pay billions of dollars — but there was one last hurdle.
- A divided Congress had to sign off and Scruggs had identified one of the most skeptical senators, Joe Biden, as a key to winning the vote.
Scruggs turned to Joe Biden’s younger brother James, an old acquaintance who ran a D.C. consulting firm.
- Scruggs paid the firm $100,000 in 1998 for advice on passing the bill.
- “I probably wouldn’t have hired him if he wasn’t the senator’s brother,” Scruggs said.
Scruggs’s deal with James Biden highlights how President Biden’s brother has for decades benefited financially from his proximity to his powerful sibling, a relationship that is newly relevant today as congressional Republicans investigate whether President Biden assisted his family members’ business deals.