Hunter Biden and his business associates appeared to suggest lobbying indicted Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez to protect a Spanish rail company after regulators scrutinized the firm, public emails on the younger Biden’s abandoned laptop archive show.
Spanish rail company Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) hired Hunter Biden’s investment firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners, to lobby the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Amtrak for government contracts on railway projects, according to emails on Biden’s publicly available laptop archive.
The younger Biden and his business associates at Rosemont Seneca spoke with Menendez’s office about CAF and secured meetings between CAF and DOT officials, archived emails show. (RELATED: Hunter Biden’s Legal Team Met With DOJ Tax Attorneys Unusually High Number Of Times, IRS Official Testifies)
CAF hired Rosemont Seneca in June 2010 and Hunter Biden’s firm appeared to discuss potential contracts with Amtrak shortly thereafter, according to the laptop archive. Biden and his associates also appeared to work with CAF on a letter sent by the Spanish ambassador to Amtrak advocating for the firm, emails show.
Hunter Biden sat on Amtrak’s board from July 2006 to February 2009 after he was nominated by former President George W. Bush. Prior to his Amtrak position, Biden worked in former President Bill Clinton’s commerce department and at a Washington, D.C., law firm.
Amtrak awarded CAF’s American subsidiary a contract worth $298.1 million in July 2010 to manufacture 130 new rail cars at a plant in Elmira, New York, CNN reported at the time. Hunter Biden’s firm appeared to negotiate a “success fee” with CAF following the announcement of the contract, according to the archive.
“We may very well be because we don’t have anything in writing, but my point has been that we be firm, have Hunter call the CEO and congratulate him, say we are looking forward to working with CAF as they implement the Amtrak contract and then follow it up with a letter to memorialize the success fee arrangement,” Hunter Biden’s business associate Eric Schwerin said in a July 27, 2010, email.
“IF and only if they push back let’s not let CAF make us think we didn’t do enough work to deserve the fee, as it is a minor percentage compared to what we would normally get for working on a project like this,” Schwerin added.
Rosemont Seneca sent a letter to CAF at the end of July 2010 outlining its request for a “success fee” worth more than $800,000 because of the firm’s work on securing the contract.
Schwerin appeared to get Menendez’s office involved with CAF in early August 2010 by holding a call with Menendez’s then-Chief of Staff Daniel O’Brien, according to an email Schwerin sent Hunter Biden.
“Talked to Danny re: CAF and he is looking into it,” Schwerin said, according to the archive. “He was very interested in finding out more mainly because of Menendez’s chairing the U.S.-Spain Council. Also, mentioned they are doing an event in NY on Sept. 24th (when we will be up there for CGI anyway) with the Spanish President if you want to attend. I’ll hold the date.”
O’Brien communicated with Hunter Biden on multiple occasions and the pair appeared to be friends. Hunter Biden emailed O’Brien in June 2010 about attending a Washington Nationals game during a conversation about his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, attending a forum Menendez was holding with U.S. and Spanish officials, emails show.
Hunter Biden and O’Brien spoke again in March 2011 about the younger Biden stopping by Menendez’s office, emails on the laptop archive show.
“The Senator wants to talk to you,” O’Brien wrote March 9, 2011, and Hunter Biden proceeded to send O’Brien his new cellphone number.
“You’ll hear a message from the Senator if you haven’t already. He felt badly due to his mistaking you for Beau. You were kind to stop by,” O’Brien said later that day.
The “success fee” for Rosemont Seneca had apparently not come in by September 2010, and Hunter Biden appeared to be frustrated with CAF for allegedly undercutting them.
“I just tell people it’s a minimum of 250k just to talk to me- you don’t show up on a call or in a room unless we are getting 20% of the deal. No overhead- no offices no salaries,” Biden said in an email exchange regarding CAF. “I cc’d Eric b/c he gave me A big talk on how CAF really wanted him on this and didn’t really care if I was there and how we wouldn’t have to do much work and the fact he didn’t read the contract regarding success fee.”
Rosemont Seneca and lobbyists from the Democratic lobbying firm SKDK appeared to schedule a meeting with DOT official Peter Rogoff around Sept. 14, 2010, after the firm was hired in early September to bolster CAF’s lobbying operation. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) found the Harris County, Texas, metro system violated federal procurement and Buy America laws in its contract award with CAF, causing the firm to worry and hire additional lobbyists, emails show.
“Further to Hunter’s earlier email, the meeting between CAF and Rogoff is scheduled for Friday at 3:30pm at DOT. They are working on their message to Rogoff between now and then and hope to be able to persuade him to delay implementation of the ruling,” Schwerin said in an email dated Sept. 14, 2010.
“Mentioned Florida and Tomar said they are still focused on it and in fact he has gotten some calls from other consortia this week which he took as a good sign that CAF’s image has not been affected by this Houston issue. He wants our help on this still and asked that we talk after the Rogoff meeting on Friday to figure out a plan on Florida going forward,” he added.
Hunter Biden suggested getting Menendez and other Democratic senators involved — in addition to Rogoff — in a Sept. 14, 2010, conversation with SKDK lobbyists, according to the email archive.
“They need Menendez (very involved in US- Spain business counsel) to take the lead (not Lautenberg- they hate each other) they need him to go to Schumer and raise an alarm that NY is in jeopardy of loosing [sic] hundreds of jobs and go to Steny and point out that MD faces the same fate in the loss of supplier jobs,” Biden said. “And they need that to happen yesterday. So far I don’t think anyone has even reached out to Gillibrand.”
Hunter Biden and SKDK lobbyists on Sept. 14 strategized ahead of the meeting with Rogoff, and Biden corresponded separately with Schwerin about the SKDK strategy, according to the archive.
“First, it is vitally important that you spend time identifying a Congressional champion (if not more than one) that would be willing to weigh in directly on your behalf to DOT and/or the White House,” Schwerin told Biden, who responded by approving Schwerin’s plan, emails show. “This will involve CAF going up to the Hill and meeting directly with members or hiring a lobbyist who can do so. At the very least, you should be in contact with Senators Schumer, Gillibrand and Menendez.”
“Tomar is going to keep working Menendez, Schumer, Gilibrand [sic] (though she hasn’t been a focus to date), the Elmira Mayor and the County Executive,” an SKDK lobbyist emailed the following day.
Rosemont Seneca and SKDK assisted CAF in its fight to have the FTA overturn its decision on the Houston violations and retain its contract. In October 2011, CAF and Harris County officials agreed to a revised contract in order to settle the FTA issues, a Houston-based ABC News affiliate reported at the time.
Federal prosecutors on Friday indicted Menendez and his wife, Nadine, for allegedly accepting bribes in order to steer U.S. foreign policy in Egypt’s favor and securing lucrative contracts for three business associates, according to the indictment.
“Those bribes included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other things of value,” the indictment reads. “Over $480,000 in cash — much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe — was discovered in the home.”
Menendez defended his conduct in a statement released Friday, accusing prosecutors of making false claims and misrepresenting his work. “Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists,” the senator said.
“They have misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office. On top of that, not content with making false claims against me, they have attacked my wife for the longstanding friendships she had before she and I even met,” he added.
Hunter Biden was indicted Sept. 14 for three counts relating to his 2018 purchase of a Colt Cobra revolver while he was allegedly addicted to crack cocaine. Biden’s attorney said Tuesday he would plead not guilty to the gun charges.
The Biden family and its business associates received more than $20 million worth of payments from Ukrainian, Russian, Chinese, Romanian and Kazakhstani business associates, according to bank records released by the House Oversight Committee.
Ukrainian energy firm Burisma paid Hunter Biden more than $80,000 per month as a board member despite his lack of experience in Ukrainian affairs and the energy sector, House Oversight bank records show. Biden served on Burisma’s board from spring 2014 to spring 2019.
The Daily Caller reached out to Menendez’s office and Hunter Biden’s attorney but did not hear back with a comment by the time of publication.