Questions Over Chinese Influence Emerge After Biden Charitable Organizations Refuse To Disclose Funding
Sat, 05/23/2020 – 18:00
Following his departure from the Obama administration in 2017, former Vice President Joe Biden established three charitable organizations; the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware, and the Biden Cancer Initiative.
And as the Washington Free Beacon notes, many of Biden’s nonprofits have become landing spots for his former – and potentially future – White House aides.
The Penn Biden Center, which had a “soft opening” in March 2017 and officially opened its doors in February 2018, has served as a national security council-in-waiting for Biden, employing his top White House foreign policy advisers Colin Kahl, Michael Carpenter, and Jeffrey Prescott. –Free Beacon
Yet, when asked about their sources of funding, the Biden entities have been anything but transparent. For example, when the Free Beacon asked a Biden Center spokesman about its funding, they said it was “a question for my colleagues at main university.” Penn spokesman Stephen MacCarthy simply blew off multiple requests for comment, as did the Biden campaign.
The Biden Cancer initiative, which had $2.1 million in assets in 2018 before suspending operations last year, similarly declined to provide a list of donors.
And the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware has also refused requests for transparency by the Free Beacon.
What we do know, however, is that the University of Pennsylvania received a 300% increase in donations since the Biden Center’s soft opening – from $31 million in 2016 to $100 million last year, according to records from the Department of Education. The largest contributor? China – which contributed $61 million in gifts and contracts between March 2017 and the end of last year. In the preceding four years – before the Biden Center opened, Penn took in just $19 million from China.
The donations included a $502,750 “monetary gift” in October 2017 from the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, a Chinese government agency that helps administer the regime’s “Thousand Talents Plan.” Federal prosecutors claim the program is linked to Chinese espionage operations at American universities and have prosecuted academics for hiding their involvement in it. Other contributors included China’s Zhejiang University, the China Merchants Bank, and the China Everbright Group, a state-owned investment group, according to federal records. –Free Beacon
Is this why Joe Biden has been soft on China?
Back to the lecture at hand, many of the Chinese contributions to the University of Pennsylvania were listed as coming from “anonymous” donors – which experts have called an “easy tactic” which allows the Chinese to penetrate the US education system.
“Anonymous giving to universities is an easy tactic the Chinese Communist Party can use to further its pernicious influence in American universities,” said Indo-Pacific studies fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, Michael Sobolik.
Between March 2017 and the end of 2019, Penn received $21 million from China spread across 23 anonymous gifts. In the preceding four years, the university had just five donations from China totaling under $5 million.
“Policymakers should investigate this vulnerability further and take necessary steps to close the loophole,” said Sobolik. “If universities and professors are lax in their reporting, the Department of Education, and when appropriate the Department of Justice, should hold them accountable.”
Government watchdog group, The National Legal and Policy Center, filed a complaint with the Department of Education on Wednesday requesting an investigation into Penn’s anonymous Chinese funding, according to the Beacon, which received a copy.
“Joe Biden’s affiliation with the Penn Biden Center further raises concerns of foreign influence not unlike those raised when the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars in donations while Hillary Clinton was running for president,” reads the complaint, which asks the DoE to “refer the matter to the Department of Justice for civil enforcement in federal court, and seek recoupment of all costs to the U.S. government for investigating and enforcing the reporting and disclosure laws of China monetary gifts and contracts.”
The anonymous contributions could also run afoul of federal law that requires universities to disclose the source of any foreign donation or contract over $250,000, according to the NLPC.
“The reporting and disclosure violations of gifts from China to U of Penn and its Penn Biden Center are both numerous and flagrant,” said Paul Kamenar, counsel for NLPC. “The Department of Justice should take swift enforcement action in federal court and recoup all costs getting them to comply with the law.”
The NLPC said in its letter the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Biden Center were “particularly vulnerable to China government influences due to the large amounts of China donations and contracts” at the school.
Penn’s investment in the Penn Biden Center has been significant: a luxe D.C. office directly across from the U.S. Capitol Building in addition to employment for Biden’s longtime foreign policy aides; highly promoted conferences featuring Biden conversing with foreign leaders; and a total of $900,000 in payments to the former vice president, according to his tax records. –Free Beacon
The website for the Biden Center – which is part of the University of Pennsylvania’s “Penn Global” department – features photos of Biden meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping and other world leaders. It handles the university’s foreign research and outreach programs, which have become increasingly focused on China in recent years, according to the report.
According to the Penn Global website, the university has “over 20 international partnerships with Chinese institutions” and has conducted “over 350 research projects and instructional activities in China.”
In 2015, a $10 million research-matching funding program was launched. The China Research and Engagement fund was designed to fund Penn medical research in China – which has included studies to improve the country’s pork production – as well as aeronautical engineering projects to help China reach its national aviation goals.
You don’t say?