News

Biden targeted in attack ad as being too close to business

Woman buys $500,000 worth of ads targeting former VP in Iowa, New Hampshire

Former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, gestures as he leaves the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO annual convention Aug. 21 in Altoona. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)
Former Vice President Joe Biden, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, gestures as he leaves the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO annual convention Aug. 21 in Altoona. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

A disgruntled investor has bought $500,000 worth of ads attacking Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden over a clash with Elizabeth Warren at a 2005 hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The spots are the biggest purchase of third-party attack ads of the primary season. They were bought by Shirley Shawe, a shareholder in a business that was embroiled in a long-running ownership dispute, and criticize Biden as being too close to corporate interests as a U.S. senator from Delaware.

Shawe has bought commercial time on cable networks including CNN, ESPN and HGTV, according to data from Advertising Analytics, for a 60-second spot that will run in the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

The ad includes clips of Biden disputing Warren’s criticism of Delaware’s Chancery Court, which ruled in a case involving Transperfect Global Inc., a translation software company co-founded by Shawe’s son, Phil Shawe.

Warren, then a professor at Harvard Law School, testified against a measure to rewrite the nation’s bankruptcy laws that Biden supported. At the hearing, she said that employees of companies incorporated in Delaware, their pensioners and others potentially affected by disputes over governance issues are effectively barred from being represented in the Chancery Court, which is viewed by critics to favor businesses.

Biden disagreed.

“I found it outrageous, such a statement,” he says in a clip featured in the ad.

The ad doesn’t mention the Transperfect dispute, but an accompanying news release says its employees were shut out of the process to resolve a conflict between its owners.

“Senator Warren has been on the right side,” Shawe said in an emailed statement. “Biden had been on the side of large corporate entities.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

In 2014, a judge ordered the sale of the company after a falling out between the co-founders, Phil Shawe and Liz Elting.

Shawe and his mother sued to overturn the forced sale. In 2017, Phil Shawe bought out Elting, ending the governance dispute, though some litigation related to the lawsuit remains.

The ad began airing Wednesday and will run through Sept. 5, according to Advertising Analytics.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.