Politics

Former aide to Joe Biden writes scathing tell-all

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Joe Biden speaks during the National Clean Energy Summit 4.0 at the Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter August 30, 2011 in Las Vegas. (Ethan Miller - Getty Images)

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Ethan Miller

A former aide to Joe Biden has written a scathing tell-all book that is not very flattering to the vice president. 

“The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins", written by former Senate staffer turned lobbyist Jeff Connaughton, paints Biden as a tyrannical “egomaniacal autocrat” who rules his staff through fear, reports Politico.

Connaughton was admittedly disillusioned by his years in Washington. 

In addition to cracking down on Biden, Connaughton's biggest gripe is with how much control big banks have over the political process. 

In 2009, Connaughton went to work for Ted Kaufman, who filled Biden's empty Delaware senate seat. 

"The Payoff" tells the story of how he and Kaufman watched as Wall Street ran over everyone in Washington, including the Obama administration and the SEC, during the financial crisis, reports the Business Insider.

“It’s time people understand why – and how – Wall Street always wins,” Connaughton writes.

The book's website tells how Connaughton and Kaufman "led the charge in challenging both Congress and the Obama administration to rein in the excesses of Wall Street". 

It’s the story of a twenty-month struggle to hold Wall Street executives accountable for securities fraud, to stop stock manipulation by high-frequency traders, and to break up too-big-to-fail megabanks. In this book, we experience a US senator’s vigorous crusade—side-by-side with his most trusted advisor—against Wall Street’s irresponsible risk-taking that destabilized the American economy.

Connaughton goes on to talk about how the close relationship between Obama and Biden wasn't as warm as it appeared.

In an excerpt printed by Politico, the author recounts a 2008 campaign gaffe when Biden predicted that Obama would be tested soon into his term.

Connaughton recalls being in a meeting with Biden a few days after the election. 

“Biden told us that Obama had called him and told him sharply that he didn’t need public tutoring: ‘I don’t need you acting like you’re my Henry Higgins,’” Connaughton writes. “Biden said his private reaction was, ‘Whoa. Where did this come from? This is clearly a guy who could restrict my role to attending state funerals or just put me in a closet for four years.” Biden added: “I’m going to have to earn his trust, but I’m not going to grovel to this guy. My manhood is not negotiable.”

Connaughton also claims that the generally smiley Biden could be cold to those in his inner circle who were not close family or friends. 

Biden's office did not comment on the specifics of the book, saying the vice president hasn't read it, but that he "values his relationships with all members of his staff, and appreciates their hard work and dedication to serving the public," according to a statement sent to Politico.