Above, Vice President Joe Biden arriving in Beijing in 2013 with his son Hunter and Hunter's daughter Finnegan.
By Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations
November 3, 2020
A conservative public-interest law firm has filed a complaint against Joe Biden’s son, calling for a Justice Department investigation into Hunter Biden for failing to register as a foreign agent while he engaged in political activities on behalf of Ukrainian and Chinese business interests.
"There is evidence that Hunter Biden attempted to influence his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, and other federal officials, and to directly or indirectly promote the political or public interests of foreign entities, including Burisma in Ukraine and CEFC China Energy Co., a Chinese conglomerate whose chairman had links to the communist regime in Beijing and in which Hunter Biden had a lucrative financial stake,” states the Oct. 31 letter from the National Legal and Policy Center to Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.
"NLPC requests a full investigation of this matter, which we believe may lead to other civil or criminal violations of federal law, including conspiracy, money laundering, tax evasion, and wire fraud, that may have been committed by Hunter Biden and his associates, including his uncle James Biden, and his father Joe Biden,” the group added.
The Biden presidential campaign had no comment.
The 12-page complaint cites a RealClearInvestigations report published Oct. 27 about Hunter Biden’s failure to register as a foreign agent and file detailed disclosures of his activities under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. RCI revealed that the Senate Finance Committee is investigating Hunter’s non-compliance with the FARA statute.
Text messages recovered from Hunter’s laptop indicate he was familiar with the requirements of the law. It is a crime to knowingly violate FARA. Violations carry a maximum punishment of five years in prison. The complaint cites one such text message Hunter sent May 1, 2017, to his then-business partner Tony Bobulinski regarding their Chinese energy client, CEFC. The text states, “We don’t want to have to register as foreign agents ... which is much more expansive than people who should know choose not to know.”
In an email dated April 17, 2015, Burisma executive Vadym Pozharski thanked Hunter for arranging a meeting with his father, who was then vice president. While his 2020 presidential campaign said in a statement that Biden’s official schedule indicates that no such meeting as alleged in the email took place, it did not rule out that he had an informal meeting with the Burisma executive.
“The fact that Hunter was arranging for these kinds of contacts with government officials in itself triggers FARA registration, regardless of the success of those efforts,” NLPC counsel Paul D. Kamenar said. "There can be no question that Hunter Biden is an ‘agent' of a 'foreign principal,' namely, Burisma Holdings," a Cyprus-registered gas producing company holding assets in Ukraine.
Hunter was paid as much as $83,000 a month while serving on Burisma’s board, even though he had no experience in the oil-and-gas sector. The right-leaning Washington-based NLPC, which advocates smaller government to deter corruption, also lodged a FARA-related complaint against the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy & Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.
The organization requested that the Justice Department conduct an investigation to determine whether the university violated the law when it received millions of dollars in donations from China -- after the Biden Center in 2018 opened its doors in Washington -- and failed to disclose the sources of the anonymous Chinese gifts. The university collected more than $22 million in anonymous donations from China in 2018 and 2019 — funds that may have been earmarked to promote Chinese interests and thus trigger registration as a foreign agent, NLPC pointed out to Justice official Demers in its complaint.
“Both Penn and the Penn Biden Center are particularly vulnerable to Chinese influences due to these large amounts of donations and contracts,” Kamenar said. Earlier this year, the center hosted a symposium featuring Chinese communist officials.
“The Department of Justice’s FARA Unit should investigate Penn and the Penn Biden Center to determine whether there have been any explicit or implicit conditions attached to the donations and contracts from China, or a general understanding to either forgo criticism of China and its policies or to espouse certain views of that country,” Kamenar asserted.
President Trump has painted Biden as “soft" on China and said that as vice president, Biden was an integral part of an administration that failed to confront China over trade and human-rights violations, cyber espionage and its growing military presence in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.
Biden and his campaign have refused to call China an adversary, describing it instead as a “competitor,” but have vowed to hold it accountable for transgressions and threats.