Hunter Biden says he is in "substantial" debt after taking out personal loans to pay for the team of high-powered lawyers fighting in Arkansas to reduce his child support payments, according to a court filing from one of his attorneys on Monday.
Biden "has incurred substantial personal loans to which he is indebted and subject to repayment for attorneys’ fees he has incurred," said his attorney. The disclosure of personal loans follows reports this week that the president’s son is considering launching a legal defense fund to raise money to pay his lawyers, a plan that has reportedly sparked ethics concerns at the White House.
It also comes as Biden faces legal troubles in multiple jurisdictions. Federal authorities are weighing whether to charge him as part of a tax investigation, while Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are ramping up a probe into the Biden family’s overseas business dealings, much of which was centered around Hunter Biden.
The fees have become a point of contention in the child support battle. Attorneys for Lunden Alexis Roberts, the mother of Biden’s four-year-old daughter, have argued that Biden’s ability to hire an all-star team of lawyers shows he can afford his current $20,000-per-month child support payments.
Biden has retained "some of the most expensive attorneys on planet Earth," including former Arkansas attorney general Dustin McDaniel, prominent Washington fixer Abbe Lowell, and Hollywood celebrity lawyer Kevin Morris, according to a motion filed by Roberts in an Arkansas court last month.
Lowell's past clients include Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), and former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. A partner at law firm Winston & Strawn, Lowell describes himself as "one of the nation’s most recognized white collar defense and trial lawyers." Court records from 2011 show he was at the time charging $855 an hour, a price tag that has almost certainly increased in the decade since.
One source familiar with the situation, however, told the Washington Free Beacon that Lowell may not be charging Biden for his services. Lowell did not respond to a request for comment.
Legal experts say such an arrangement wouldn’t violate campaign finance laws because Hunter Biden himself isn’t a candidate for public office, even if his legal issues could impact his father’s presidential race.
"There isn't a campaign finance rule that prohibits adult children of a candidate from receiving free legal advice," said Audrey Perry Martin, a partner at the Gober Law Group.
"Free legal advice would more likely fall under the executive branch ethics and gift rules," she added. "However, the president is generally exempted from those gift rules, unless there is some sort of exchange for an official act on President Biden's part."
Craig Engle, a partner with ArentFox Schiff, said if a third party is paying for Hunter Biden’s legal services "you may have an illegal gift." The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
More information on Hunter Biden's legal payments will likely come later this week. His legal team agreed in the Monday filing to turn over "information concerning any funds he has paid to attorneys and funds paid on his behalf."
Published under: Campaign Finance , Ethics , Feature , Hunter Biden , Joe Biden , Lawsuit