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Thursday
November 26th, 2020
L&T Opinions Page

GUEST COLUMN, Fred Lucas, townhall.com

 

Hunter Biden seems poised to take of the mantle of a more privileged version of Billy Carter, with exponentially magnified conflicts than the wayward brother of former President Jimmy Carter. 

Some Democrats snickered at what seemed over exposure of the Trump children at the Republican National Convention. It seemed a bit shocking to see Hunter Biden had the chutzpah to show his face at the Democratic National Convention. But chutzpah has never been a problem for the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, as my new book “Abuse of Power” notes in great detail. 

In all likelihood, Democratic convention planners strategized the Hunter issue, determining it would be over-the-top to give the wayward son an individual speaking role, but hiding him from the public would offer blatant fodder for Republicans. So, doing a split screen with his sister Ashley as both praised their father provided a fitting balance. 

If former Vice President Biden is elected president in November, Hunter’s assorted personal problems may continue to embarrass his father. But the far more substantive matter will be Hunter Biden continuing to cash in on his father’s position in government.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is investigating Hunter’s business dealings, a probe that likely gets killed if Democrats capture the Senate in a Biden wave. But Hunter hasn’t shown a tendency to learn from the past. 

His job on the board of directors for Burisma for $50,000 per month while his father handled the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy is widely known because it was so central in the House impeachment of President Donald Trump. But it barely touches the surface of the conflict of interest empire Hunter managed to build beginning when his father was the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and expanding into the elder Biden’s vice presidency. 

We should give the benefit of the doubt to the former vice president. But, it almost doesn’t matter whether he kept tabs on his son’s business deals. The potential problem is that if Hunter goes rogue, it could place U.S. national security and the Biden presidency in a compromising position.

Anyone who thinks, “Well, after that Burisma thing, the Biden family will be more careful,” likely doesn’t understand the depth of the double standard for the Left in escaping accountability. To the contrary, Hunter seems likely to be Billy Carter on steroids. 

Billy was a rather comical, underachieving brother of Jimmy. His cashing in on his brother’s presidency first involved endorsing “Billy Beer,” and causing the Carter White House to cringe when he was a public spectacle in the media. Matters continued in late 1978 and early 1979, when Billy traveled three times to Libya, and accepted hundreds of thousands in payments from Libyans. The Senate investigated, but found no clear cut wrongdoing. 

Similar to Billy’s one off with Libya, perhaps Hunter wouldn’t cross a legal line in his multi-faceted foreign business capers. Though, at a minimum, if past is prologue, it will expose a Biden administration to intense embarrassment.   

During the Obama years, Hunter teamed with Christopher Heinz, the stepson to then-Sen. John Kerry, to start Rosemont Capital. A third partner in the firm was Devon Archer. The firm reportedly secured meetings with rich Chinese investors, formed partnerships with the Thornton Group in China and with Chinese private-equity fund Bohai Capital (BHR). 

It was Dec. 4, 2013 that Hunter flew with his father on Air Force Two to China. His father traveled there to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but Hunter also arranged a meeting with the head of BHR, Jonathan Li, with his father. After this, Rosemont got a $1 billion private equity deal with a subsidiary of the Bank of China. 

The New Yorker, no conservative firebrand outlet, reported in July 2019, “Biden’s advisors were worried that Hunter, by meeting with a business associate during his father’s visit, would expose the Vice President to criticism,” and that a senior Obama administration White House official said “Hunter’s behavior invited questions about whether he ‘was leveraging access for his benefit.’”

Hunter bought a 10 percent financial stake in BHR. The Intercept reported BHR invested in Face++, a company that develops facial recognition software for the nation’s communist government. The technology allowed China’s law enforcement to have “daily access to data detailing the religious activity, blood type, and even the amount of electricity used by ethnic minority Muslims living in the western province of Xinjiang.” 

Heinz bailed on Rosemont Seneca in 2015, months after Hunter and Archer joined the Burisma board. Archer would face an overturned conviction for an alleged white collar crime in 2018. 

When his father’s tenure as VP was coming to an end, Hunter met with Ye Jianming, owner of CEFC China Energy, a firm closely aligned to the Chinese government. Ye gave him a 2.8-carat diamond. In his divorce proceedings, his ex-wife Kathleen Biden reportedly said the diamond was worth $80,000, while Hunter countered it was only worth $10,000. 

Largely thanks to Trump, Hunter’s Ukraine connection overshadowed his multi-faced connections to China. 

The former vice president’s son—and possibly the next president’s son—has as much right to seize business opportunities as any American. The question is what are the motives of those providing the opportunities and whether Hunter Biden will be willing to sacrifice a pay day for the good of his father and the good of the country. 

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