Following a complaint filed by National Legal and Policy Center with the Department of Justice that demanded an investigation of the son and brother of Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee has made a similar request.
Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, wrote a detailed, seven-page letter to Attorney General William Barr on Monday, urging him to probe Hunter Biden and James Biden – the son and brother of the former vice president, respectively – about deals they cut with a state-owned Chinese energy company and their representation of foreign actors in the United States.
The inquiry focuses on the Bidens’ work with CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd., which Grassley accurately characterized as “an extension of the Chinese government.” He asked Barr to investigate whether the Bidens violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act by failing to notify the Justice Department about their relationship with CEFC, as would seem to be required considering their business activities.
“CEFC is clearly a foreign principal as defined by FARA and Hunter Biden’s and James Biden’s work for CEFC directly benefitted the communist Chinese government thereby making them potential agents of that government,” Grassley wrote.
The senator referenced his collaborative work with Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, in which they produced a joint investigative report that “revealed millions of dollars in questionable financial transactions between Hunter Biden and his associates and foreign individuals, including the wife of the former mayor of Moscow and individuals with ties to the Chinese Communist Party.”
However, Grassley’s request to Barr was limited to the Bidens’ China connections, principally their representation of CEFC Chairman Ye Jianming and business associate Patrick Ho, who was convicted of international bribery and money laundering offenses and was the target of at least one FISA warrant. The pair sought the Bidens’ help to make connections around the world in order to access foreign countries for CEFC’s energy projects.
“China was hungry for crude, but its state-backed companies were having difficulty closing some deals abroad,” Reuters reported in January 2017. “The optics of China’s state-backed giants marching into a country to buy and extract oil weren’t great for central Asian politicians.”
Grassley cited evidence gleaned from a laptop apparently owned by Hunter Biden, which had been abandoned at a Delaware repair shop and whose contents became the subject of a huge scandal for Joe Biden in the weeks leading up to last week’s election. Communications found on the computer, in addition to revelations from former Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski, indicated that Hunter and James Biden sought to trade on Joe Biden’s name and powerful position as vice president in order to help deliver access to foreign markets for their Chinese clients.
“In order for Ye to succeed with future business in the United States, he had to, as the New York Times stated, ‘build influence,’” Grassley explained in his letter. “Based on the recently released records, that is exactly what Hunter Biden and James Biden were supposed to do for CEFC. Accordingly, it appears that Hunter and James Biden, based on their family name and political influence, were agents of CEFC, as both had planned roles with CEFC’s investment vehicles and engaged in efforts to seal financial deals for Ye and CEFC, which would ultimately benefit the communist Chinese government.”
Grassley then referenced communications discovered on the laptop in which Hunter Biden specifically addressed the need to notify the U.S. government about his activities, and his desire to avoid that requirement.
“Based on additional emails and texts that have recently been made public,” Grassley wrote, “it appears that Hunter Biden had concerns about registering under FARA, as well as potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, based on his association with CEFC.”
“The American public deserves to know when foreign entities are operating in and attempting to influence U.S. policy and public opinion,” Grassley added.
The senator’s request follows a complaint filed a week earlier with the Justice Department by National Legal and Policy Center, that also seeks an investigation of the Bidens based on their seemingly intentional avoidance of compliance with FARA requirements. Among voluminous evidence, the complaint cited a May 1, 2017 text from Hunter Biden to Bobulinski which read, “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.”
NLPC recognized the significance of the Senate Finance Committee chairman getting involved.
“We’re pleased to see that Senator Grassley is following up on NLPC’s complaint to the Department of Justice with one of his own, that Hunter Biden and his uncle James Biden should have registered as a foreign agent of Chinese financial interests, “ said NLPC Counsel Paul Kamenar.
NLPC’s complaint also asked the Justice Department to look into other suspect activities of the Bidens – including Joe Biden, whose name is on a diplomacy-focused educational entity at the University of Pennsylvania – as well as Hunter’s other foreign government dealings, including with Ukrainian gas company Burisma.“Our complaint goes further and also calls for an investigation of $22 million in anonymous Chinese donations to University of Pennsylvania and its Biden Center,” Kamenar said. “Moreover, NLPC’s complaint alleges that Hunter Biden’s payoffs from Burisma to curry favor with his dad when he was vice president also requires foreign agent registration.”