Another day, another tranche of classified documents found at one of President Biden’s homes or former office. Republicans are demanding visitor logs for Biden’s home in Wilmington, Del., though the White House says there aren’t any. But there’s one person we can be sure visited the president’s homes and possibly his Penn Biden Center office: son Hunter Biden. So, when will the FBI start searching his home?
We know Hunter has engaged in lots of mostly shady foreign deals, trafficking on his name and connections rather than his expertise, which has brought him millions of dollars. So, he has a motive for wanting access to certain classified documents.
And we know Hunter lives very well. As The Hill reported last April, “Hunter Biden, who is under federal investigation for his foreign business dealings, has been staying in Malibu throughout his father’s presidency, spending $20,000 of his own wealth each month to rent out a mansion, according to the report.”
And there’s a third reason why Hunter might be interested in classified documents. CNN reports, “Among the items from Joe Biden’s time as vice president discovered in a private office last fall are 10 classified documents including US intelligence memos and briefing materials that covered topics including Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom, according to a source familiar with the matter.” (Emphasis added.)
CNN adds that the documents were dated between 2013 and 2016. Would Hunter have had an interest in classified Ukrainian documents at that time?
So it seems. Hunter, who had no energy industry experience, was appointed to the board of Ukrainian private oil and gas company Burisma Holdings Ltd. in May 2014, leaving the board in 2019.
The New York Post claims that information from Hunter’s abandoned laptop showed Burisma paid him $83,333 a month, beginning in May 2014. It’s probably only a coincidence that hefty salary was cut to $41,500 per month in early 2017, after then Vice-President Biden left the White House.
Is $83,333 a month to sit on a company’s board usual and customary? Investopedia, looking at several surveys, reports, “The median [annual] compensation for members of private company boards of directors was $44,850 in 2021.” But it adds that the average annual 2018 board compensation at S&P 500 companies was $304,856, though Goldman Sachs Group Inc., paid its directors an average of $599,279.
So, Hunter made $400,000 more per year serving on Burisma’s board than the average Goldman Sachs board member. Now, why would anyone find that level of compensation, um, excessive?
The mainstream media certainly didn’t. I can’t tell you how many times I heard investigative reporters and media people who were looking into Donald Trump’s financial dealings assert “Follow the money.” But with Hunter Biden, not so much.
Was a Ukrainian company the only foreign company that might have been interested in access to classified documents? It turns out that Hunter also had financial relationships with people or companies in China, Kazakhstan and Russia — that we know of.
For years, the question has been whether Hunter was forwarding some of the proceeds from his shady deals to his father, who has categorically denied any such kickbacks. But an email on Hunter’s laptop from May 2017, covered by the New York Post in October 2020, appears to provide the answer: “10 held by H for the big guy?” The “10” in context is clearly a reference to 10 percent, with “H” referring to Hunter. “The big guy” is widely believed to be Joe Biden.
Of course, Joe was out of the White House by then, so the payola was unseemly but perhaps not illegal.
To be sure, Hunter may not have taken any classified documents, even if he knew they were close to The Big Guy’s Corvette, or in other parts of the house, or in Biden’s office. But with everyone’s phone being a camara these days, he could have just taken pictures of them.
We may never know if Hunter had access to classified documents, or if he would have or could have benefited from them if he did. But the situation is worth investigating.
We do know Republicans will investigate. Perhaps the FBI will investigate. And just maybe the mainstream media will finally do its job and follow the money.
Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @MerrillMatthews.
Originally published at thehill.com