Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, announced that he has been informed by federal prosecutors in Delaware that his taxes are being investigated. He says he will cooperate with the authorities and expects to be vindicated.
The federal prosecutors, working with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), are in the process of issuing subpoenas and speaking to witnesses. Sources close to the investigation told CNN that Biden is being investigated for possible violation of tax and money laundering laws, and at least one of the subjects being investigated is Hunter Biden’s business dealings with China.
Federal prosecutors waited until after the election to announce the ongoing investigation because of a longstanding Department of Justice policy to avoid taking overt actions that might affect an election.
Some Americans may have thought such information could have been valuable in deciding whether to vote for Hunter’s father for president. Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is still chafing that the media largely ignored a Senate committee’s investigation into the younger Biden that resulted in a scathing report issued in September.
In a Senate floor speech on Thursday, following the announcement of the federal investigation, Grassley expressed his frustration. “For over a year, Sen. [Ron] Johnson and I investigated the Biden family financial dealings,” he said. “We found that they engaged in potential criminal financial deals across the globe, including China, which created counterintelligence concerns. … I think It’s outrageous that the Fourth Estate would choose to ignore facts when they are uncovered by Republicans.”
Hunter Biden’s financial dealings have brought him under intense scrutiny before. While his father was vice president, the younger Biden was paid $50,000 per month to sit on the board of a Ukraine energy company owned by one of that nation’s corrupt oligarchs. The position, and the generous compensation raised questions because Hunter had no experience in the energy industry up to that point. The Senate investigation report concluded that his position on the board of Burisma Holdings caused an “awkwardness” for American foreign policy during the Obama administration.
In October, the New York Post reported that a laptop owned by Hunter Biden, and left with a repair shop, contained emails implicating potential influence-peddling on behalf of officials with the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holding – on whose board Hunter sat – seeking to meet with then-Vice President Biden. As you may recall, Twitter blocked that post, while Facebook limited its reach, calling it “misinformation,” which prompted hearings on Capitol Hill over the one-sided editorial decisions of the largest social media companies.
The Senate report from September noted several instances where Hunter Biden profited handsomely from his foreign dealings, including $4 million for his service on the board of Burisma Holdings and $3.5 million in a wire transfer from the wife of the former mayor of Moscow, among others.
The federal investigation apparently began in 2018, according to CNN, and while information from its sources is more general than specific, one specific item being discussed is the 2017 gift of a 2.8 carat diamond from a Chinese energy company official to Hunter Biden following a business meeting in Miami. In 2019, Biden discussed the gift with New Yorker magazine, saying he didn’t feel right about accepting the gift, and gave it to an associate. He told the magazine the diamond was worth $10,000, but his ex-wife, during divorce proceedings, claimed it was worth more like $80,000.
It’s unclear whether Biden declared the diamond as income on his taxes, or whether that is one of the items that prompted the federal investigation.
The investigation into the taxes of the younger Biden could pose political problems for Joe Biden, should he be declared the winner in the 2020 presidential election. The U.S. Department of Justice, and whoever a President Biden appoints as Attorney General, would technically be in charge of the investigation into his son’s financial dealings. Because of that inherent conflict of interest, Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is calling for a special counsel to be appointed.
Photo from Democratic National Convention via USA TODAY Network via Imagn Content Services, LLC/REUTERS