According to a report from The Intercept's Daniel Boguslaw, Sen. Joe Manchin's rise from state lawmaker in his native West Virginia to one of the most powerful members of the U.S. Senate was accompanied by a fair share of FBI and IRS investigations into the people who surrounded him.
Manchin, who by virtue of a split Senate holds an inordinate amount of power over President Joe Biden's agenda, has come under increasing national scrutiny as he and fellow Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) hold up Senate negotiations on a massive infrastructure bill.
While a spokesman for the West Virginia Democrat stated, "Senator Manchin has devoted most of his adult life to public service. At every stage he has been compliant with financial and ethical standards. He has never been the subject of a federal investigation," Boguslaw wrote that a cloud of investigations has hovered over people close to the senator for years.
Pointing to the death of Sen. Robert Byrd in 2010 which opened the door from Manchin to move from serving as West Virginia's governor to the nation's Capitol, The Intercept report notes, "As Manchin launched his Senate campaign, a federal investigation was bearing down on his administration and its inner circle."
According to Boguslaw, "Weeks after Byrd's death, federal subpoenas were sent to agencies throughout Manchin's administration. Though the Manchin governor's office wasn't directly subpoenaed, investigators were looking into multiple people and agencies with a web of ties to Manchin, including Manchin's former chief of staff and confidante, Larry Puccio, then the head of the state Democratic party," before adding, "The full purview of the investigation was never made clear. In addition to a subpoena to the Department of Transportation's Division of Highways investigating land seized through eminent domain, the government sought campaign finance records from the secretary of state's office on Manchin's 1996 gubernatorial bid and from the department of administration's aviation division."
The report notes that Manchin has "stayed a step ahead of federal investigations as they closed in around his inner circle" for over twenty years with "public court records, and sealed documents" obtained by The Intercept illustrating a decades-long trail "of investigations into employees, contractors, and business associates of Manchin."
Boguslaw added, "These incidents involve investigations into tax evasion, grand larceny, campaign finance violations, and an investigation by federal agencies including the FBI and IRS into a wide range of alleged criminal activity centered around Manchin's governor's office," before adding, "In both the 2010s and the 1990s, federal investigations involving confidential informants petered out, with only low-level players facing prosecution, sentencing, and jail time."
You can read more here including details of the investigation into Larry Puccio as well as questionable financial dealings by the Manchin family business dating back to 1992.