The Corner

Politics & Policy

Joe Biden Taps Corrupt Ex-Senator (and Ted Kennedy Wingman) to Help Him Find a VP

Former Vice President Joe Biden at the Democratic primary debate in Charleston, S.C., February 25, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

In a 1990 GQ piece detailing the boozy debauchery of Senator Ted Kennedy, the late, great Michael Kelly relays a story about Teddy and his best friend Chris Dodd:

It is after midnight and Kennedy and Dodd are just finishing up a long dinner in a private room on the first floor of the restaurant’s annex. They are drunk. Their dates, two very young blondes, leave the table to go to the bathroom. (The dates are drunk too. “They’d always get their girls very, very drunk,” says a former Brasserie waitress.) Betty Loh, who served the foursome, also leaves the room. Raymond Campet, the co-owner of La Brasserie, tells [waitress Carla] Gaviglio the senators want to see her.

As Gaviglio enters the room, the six-foot-two, 225-plus-pound Kennedy grabs the five-foot-three, 103-pound waitress and throws her on the table. She lands on her back, scattering crystal, plates and cutlery and the lit candles. Several glasses and a crystal candlestick are broken. Kennedy then picks her up from the table and throws her on Dodd, who is sprawled in a chair. With Gaviglio on Dodd’s lap, Kennedy jumps on top and begins rubbing his genital area against hers, supporting his weight on the arms of the chair. As he is doing this, Loh enters the room. She and Gaviglio both scream, drawing one or two dishwashers. Startled, Kennedy leaps up. He laughs. Bruised, shaken and angry over what she considered a sexual assault, Gaviglio runs from the room. Kennedy, Dodd and their dates leave shortly thereafter, following a friendly argument between the senators over the check.

On Thursday morning, the same Dodd was named co-chairman of the committee to find Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has yet to answer (or be asked) any questions about his sexual-assault-allegation problem, a running mate.

Dodd was not only a long-time Kennedy co-conspirator, but impressively corrupt in his own right. For those who are too young to remember, Connecticut’s Dodd, a senator since 1981, was forced to retire from politics in 2010 after a string of favor-trading scandals. Most scandalously, Dodd had slipped an amendment into the 2008 “stimulus” bill ensuring that AIG executives would get their bonuses paid by taxpayers. AIG, not incidentally, had donated more to Dodd, who initially lied about the provision, than to any other politician in the country, and given his wife a cushy board seat on a Bermuda-based company in their orbit. The chairman of Senate Banking Committee had also been one of the “Friends of Angelo,” a program in which Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo would hand sweetheart below-market rate mortgages to his friends in D.C. And that wasn’t all.

Helped by his longtime friend Harvey Weinstein, who had made Dodd the top beneficiary of his political contributions during his career, the former senator would find work as Hollywood’s top lobbyist — even though he had repeatedly promised not work as a lobbyist once his career ended.

Biden has been longtime friends with Dodd, even campaigning for the senator after his stimulus machinations had been uncovered. Will anyone with access ask Biden why he believes a man who was chased from a typically safe Senate for engaging in shady favor-trading is the right guy to help him find a vice president? Will they ask him why Dodd, a man who, at the very least, rode shotgun on Kennedy’s decades-long depravity tour, is the kind of person who should be a trusted advisor on this issue? Because it seems to me this would be pretty big story if both Biden and Dodd were Republicans.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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