By Peter Schweizer – January 18, 2020
Political figures have long used their families to route power and benefits for their own self-enrichment. In my new book, “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite,” one particular politician — Joe Biden — emerges as the king of the sweetheart deal, with no less than five family members benefiting from his largesse, favorable access and powerful position for commercial gain. In Biden’s case, these deals include foreign partners and, in some cases, even US taxpayer dollars.
The Biden family’s apparent self-enrichment involves five family members: Joe’s son Hunter, son-in-law Howard, brothers James and Frank, and sister Valerie.
When this subject came up in 2019, Biden declared, “I never talked with my son or my brother or anyone else — even distant family — about their business interests. Period.”
As we will see, this is far from the case …
With the election of his father as vice president, Hunter Biden launched businesses fused to his father’s power that led him to lucrative deals with a rogue’s gallery of governments and oligarchs around the world. Sometimes he would hitch a prominent ride with his father aboard Air Force Two to visit a country where he was courting business. Other times, the deals would be done more discreetly. Always they involved foreign entities that appeared to be seeking something from his father.
There was, for example, Hunter’s involvement with an entity called Burnham Financial Group, where his business partner Devon Archer — who’d been at Yale with Hunter — sat on the board of directors. Burnham became the vehicle for a number of murky deals abroad, involving connected oligarchs in Kazakhstan and state-owned businesses in China.
But one of the most troubling Burnham ventures was here in the United States, in which Burnham became the center of a federal investigation involving a $60 million fraud scheme against one of the poorest Indian tribes in America, the Oglala Sioux.
Devon Archer was arrested in New York in May 2016 and charged with “orchestrating a scheme to defraud investors and a Native American tribal entity of tens of millions of dollars.” Other victims of the fraud included several public and union pension plans. Although Hunter Biden was not charged in the case, his fingerprints were all over Burnham. The “legitimacy” that his name and political status as the vice president’s son lent to the plan was brought up repeatedly in the trial.
The scheme was explicitly designed to target pension funds that had “socially responsible investing” clauses, including pension funds of labor union organizations that had publicly supported Joe Biden’s political campaigns in the past. Indeed, eight of the 11 pension funds that lost their money were either government employee or labor union pension funds. Joe Biden has “a long-standing alliance with labor.” He closely identifies with organized labor. “I make no apologies,” he has said. “I am a union man, period.” And many public unions have endorsed him over the years.
Transcripts from Archer’s trial offer a clearer picture of Hunter Biden’s role at Burnham Asset Management, in particular, the fact that the firm relied on his father’s name and political status as a means of both recruiting pension money into the scheme and alleviating investors’ concerns.
Tim Anderson, a lawyer who did legal work on the issuance of the tribal bonds, recounts seeing Hunter while visiting the Burnham office in New York City to meet with Bevan Cooney, who was later convicted in the case.
The political ties that Biden and Archer had were considered key to the Burnham brand. As stated in an August 2014 email, Jason Galanis, who was convicted in the bond scheme, agreed with an unidentified associate who also thought the company had “value beyond capital” because of their political connections.
In the closing arguments at the trial, one of Archer’s defense attorneys, Matthew Schwartz, explained to the jury that it was impossible to talk about the bond scheme without mentioning Hunter Biden’s name. This “was perfectly sensible,” according to Schwartz, “because Hunter Biden was part of the Burnham team.”