Five Times Hunter Biden’s Business Dealings Presented a Conflict of Interest for Joe Biden
Joe Biden’s youngest son, Hunter, has a long and muddled history of profiting from business interests tied to the former vice president’s political influence.
The younger Biden, who has a storied history of personal and professional issues, is at the center of controversy after President Donald Trump suggested the Ukrainian government look into his business dealings in the country. Although the Bidens are denying any wrongdoing, even going to the extent of accusing Trump of abusing his power, the situation only underscores the shadowy nature of Hunter Biden’s professional life.
Breitbart News is providing an indepth breakdown of instances in which Hunter Biden’s business interests directly intersected with his father’s position in elective office.
1. Joe Biden’s top campaign contributor hired Hunter fresh out of law school.
Shortly after Joe Biden was reelected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, his largest campaign contributor, the credit card issuer MBNA Corp., hired Hunter for an undisclosed role. The job raised eyebrows from ethics watchdogs since MBNA employees had just donated $63,000 to Joe Biden’s reelection campaign in what appeared to be a coordinated manner designed to sidestep federal campaign finance regulations.
Clouding the picture even further was the fact that then 26-year-old Hunter Biden was a recent graduate of Yale Law School with no banking or business experience. Both father and son defended the job offer, claiming nothing improper had or would result because of the arrangement.
“Unfortunately, no matter where I went to work, some people would make an issue of it,” the younger Biden told the Delaware News Journal in November 1996 when the job was announced.
Despite his role being unknown at the time of his hiring, when Hunter Biden left the company in 1998 to join the Clinton-era Commerce Department it was as a senior vice president.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Joe Biden was championing bankruptcy reform legislation endorsed by financial interests and credit card companies such as MBNA.
2. Hunter Biden was on MBNA’s payroll while Joe Biden was writing bankruptcy reform legislation.
In the early-2000s, Hunter Biden remained on MBNA’s payroll as a consultant while his father was writing and pushing the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. The arrangement, which did not become public until after the law was passed, started in 2001 after Hunter Biden had left his position in the Commerce Department. Hunter Biden was paid monthly consulting fees, with some claiming they ranged upwards of $100,000, to advise the company on online banking issues.
The 2005 bankruptcy law tightened regulations to make it extremely difficult to declare bankruptcy. The law was heavily favored by MBNA and other giants in the banking and finance sectors. Many consumer protection advocates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have claimed the bill benefited special interests at the expense of consumers. Some have even suggested the law only served to hasten and aggravate the recession of the late 2000s.
As previously reported by the New York Times, Biden worked against many of his own fellow Democrats in Congress to ensure the final version of the bill was free of provisions opposed by companies such as MBNA.
Biden “was one of five Democrats in March 2005 who voted against a proposal to require credit card companies to provide more effective warnings to consumers about the consequences of paying only the minimum amount due each month,” the Times noted.
3. Hunter Biden sought to monetize off his father’s political standing on Wall Street.
In 2006, shortly before Joe Biden assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and launched his second presidential campaign, Hunter purchased a hedge fund called Paradigm Global Advisors with his uncle, James. Although neither had a strong background in finance, James and Hunter believed they could leverage Joe Biden’s political connections to their benefit.
“Don’t worry about investors,” James Biden, the former vice president’s younger brother, purportedly told Paradigm’s senior leadership upon taking over the fund, as reported by Politico. “We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden.”
Paradigm’s executives claim that James and Hunter Biden saw the hedge fund as a way to “take money from rich foreigners who could not legally give money” to Joe Biden’s campaign account.
“We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company,” James Biden allegedly told Paradigm’s staff.
As part of their effort to cash in on Joe Biden’s political influence, Hunter and James also tried to solicit labor unions to invest their pension funds with Paradigm. The duo’s main argument when pitching to unions was their access and ties to Joe Biden, who has a long record of advocating for collective bargaining.
The entire approach proved unsuccessful after a series of bad investments — including a partnership with a Ponzi scheme. James and Hunter eventually chose to strip the hedge fund of all its assets in 2010, selling them to the highest bidder before shuttering it indefinitely.
4. Hunter Biden’s firm scored a $1.5 billion deal with the Bank of China only days after his father paid an official visit to the country.
As Peter Schweizer, a senior contributor at Breitbart News, revealed in his bestselling book — Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends — Hunter Biden inked a multi-billion dollar deal with a subsidiary of the state-owned Bank of China in 2013. The deal, which was the first of its kind, created a private equity fund, Bohai Harvest RST (BHR) to invest Chinese money overseas.
The timing of the lucrative deal has been brought into question as it came only 12 days after Hunter visited China with his father aboard Air Force Two. Officially, the then-vice president was visiting the country amid escalating tensions over islands in the South China Sea and decided to bring his granddaughter and son along. In a March 2018 interview with Breitbart News Tonight, however, Schweizer detailed the political machinations that preceded Hunter Biden’s $1.5 billion venture with China. Schweizer said:
In December of 2013, Vice President Joe Biden flies to Asia for a trip, and the centerpiece for that trip is a visit to Beijing, China. To put this into context, in 2013, the Chinese have just exerted air rights over the South Pacific, the South China Sea. They basically have said, ‘If you want to fly in this area, you have to get Chinese approval. We are claiming sovereignty over this territory.’ Highly controversial in Japan, in the Philippines, and in other countries. Joe Biden is supposed to be going there to confront the Chinese. Well, he gets widely criticized on that trip for going soft on China. So basically, no challenging them, and Japan and other countries are quite upset about this.
Since its creation, BHR has invested heavily in energy and defense projects across the globe. As of June, Hunter Biden is still involved with BHR, sitting on its board of directors and owning a minority stake of the fund estimated to be worth more than $430,000.
5. The Obama-Biden administration helped facilitate the sale of U.S. company with insight into military technology to BHR and a Chinese state-owned defense firm.
In 2015, BHR and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) — an aerospace and defense conglomerate owned and operated by the Chinese government — made a $600 million bid to purchase Henniges, a Michigan-based automotive company.
The sale required approval from the Obama-Biden administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) as AVIC was a subsidiary of the Chinese government and Henniges produced “dual-use” anti-vibration technology with U.S. “military applications.” CFIUS, which is made up of representatives from 16 different federal bodies including the departments of State, Treasury, and Defense, is required to review any transaction with national security implications.
When the AVIC and BHR’s bid was first announced, alarm bells went off in certain sectors of the defense industry. In particular, many noted that AVIC was “reportedly involved in stealing sensitive data regarding the Joint Strike Fighter program,” which it later “reportedly incorporated … into China’s J-20 and J‑31 aircraft.”
Despite the national security concerns, CFIUS approved the deal with AVIC purchasing 51 percent of the company and BHR taking ownership of the other 49 percent. Upon purchase, an industry newsletter stated the deal was the “biggest Chinese investment into US automotive manufacturing assets to date.”
Although the deal was approved by the Obama administration, it has not escaped congressional scrutiny. In August, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) launched a probe into whether or not the CFIUS decision was influenced by either Joe Biden or former Secretary of State John Kerry, whose stepson was also involved in the venture.
“The direct involvement of Mr. Hunter Biden and Mr. Heinz in the acquisition of Henniges by the Chinese government creates a potential conflict of interest,” Grassley noted when launching the probe.