One of the more interesting aspects of the Biden classified documents drama is the appearance of a university-affiliated think tank, named for the president, that received millions as a “gift” from China while looking on paper like little more than an accounting code.
The Penn Biden Center, located in Washington, DC, but part of the University of Pennsylvania, is where the first classified documents were found and tells only one part of a larger story of years-long Chinese infiltration of American institutions.
On that front, China has been busy. They’ve been involved in setting up secret police stations in New York and LA, engaging in massive land buys in rural states, purchasing defunct and failing American college campuses, rolling out Confucius Institutes in colleges and K-12 schools, collecting user data on pervasive social media apps, seeking telecom dominance, moving fentanyl across the Southern border, and “gifting” millions to universities and policy-oriented think tanks. These things are documented, and are only what we know now. There could be – and likely will be — more to come.
Less understood is the Biden family’s role in helping China succeed in some of their endeavors, although that part of the story promises to play out over the next couple of years as the Oversight Committee begins its investigation. Rep James Comer(R-KY), new head of the committee, had been busy on this front even before his party won the House.
So while the jury is still out as to what the Biden family was actually up to as it relates to China, reports indicate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, may have had access to some of these newly-discovered classified documents while working for a Chinese energy firm (and behaving like a deranged dilettante). And, most importantly, that his father was in on the game. As Jonathan Turley put it:
“Emails on Hunter’s laptop make repeated reference to not only Joe’s knowledge but efforts to hide his involvement. … Emails used code names for Joe Biden such as ‘Celtic’ or ‘the big guy.’ In one, ‘the big guy’ is mentioned as possibly receiving a 10% cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm. There are also references to Hunter paying off his father’s bills from shared accounts.
The Biden family’s relationship to China’s influence operations is something Comer and House Oversight have firmly in their sights, but the information will no doubt be difficult to dislodge. Perhaps that’s because, as Newt Gingrich laments, it all looks a lot like what many already assume happens all the time in DC: unfettered and shameless corruption:
[T]here is virtually no public accountability or transparency about the money trail. It’s a given that Chinese sources aren’t going to share any information. And the University of Pennsylvania is simply refusing to obey the law and report the foreign donations.
I worked with the Trump administration’s Department of Education on this for several years, and we simply could not get the University of Pennsylvania to open its books and explain where all the Chinese money was coming from.
Consider that now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken was the manager of the Penn Biden Center. Several other Biden team members were paid by the University of Pennsylvania in the period between Joe Biden’s vice presidency and presidency.
Meanwhile, in apparent appreciation for setting him up at the center, Joe Biden appointed former University President Amy Gutmann to be U.S. Ambassador to Germany. Similarly, David Cohen, the former chairman of the university’s board of trustees, is now the U.S. Ambassador to Canada.
It’s disappointing that the apathy about what the current President of the United States and his family have been doing to help China succeed to the potential national security detriment of the United States is this pronounced.
As Jim Geraghty writes at National Review, it’s remarkable on a national scale. “If I said to you that a company that was effectively controlled by the Chinese government paid Hunter Biden almost $5 million for vaguely defined ‘consulting’ and legal work, wouldn’t that bother you?,” he writes. “Even if you’re a loyal Democrat — even if you were so progressive you’re to the left of Bernie Sanders — do you want members of president’s family to get in bed with the Chinese government?”
Another way to put that is to ask if it’s reasonable to take progressives’ silence and lack of outrage – from their legislators, media mouthpieces, and voters – as an answer to those questions.
This article originally appeared in Townhall on January 23, 2023.