Below is my column in The Messenger on the new information on “loans” benefiting the Biden family. It seems that no interest loans are the common practice for the Bidens. After this column ran, the House Oversight Committee released a new report of an additional “loan repayment” from James Biden to Joe Biden. The money again appears to have come from a transfer sent from one of the foreign sources in the Biden influence peddling scandal, CEFC China Energy Co. It is all part of the “Wonderful Life” at the Biden Bros. Savings & Loan.
Here is the column:
In the classic holiday film, It’s a Wonderful Life, the Bailey Brothers Building & Loan Association faced a run on the bank by customers spooked by rumors of theft and insolvency. George Bailey held back the crowd, explaining as he pointed to individual customers: “You’re thinking of this place all wrong. … The money’s not here. Well, your money’s in Joe’s house. That’s right next to yours.”
As several Republican-led House committees follow the money in the Biden corruption investigation, that scene seems to be playing out in real life. It turns out that a kind of “Biden Family Building & Loan” operated under some of the same loose accounting systems, and some of the money was literally sent to Joe’s house or used to repair it.
In July, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released an unclassified FBI record which included allegations to the agency of Biden and his son, Hunter, being paid $5 million each by a Ukrainian energy executive when the senior Biden was vice president. Most of the media has shown an utter lack of curiosity in following the money. However, the House Oversight and House Ways and Means committees have made strides in tracking millions of dollars which they allege were sent to Biden family members through a labyrinth of shell companies and accounts.
The Bidens have been criticized for decades for influence-peddling. It is important to note that, while influence-peddling can be done legally, it is uniformly viewed as corrupt. For the Bidens, it also seems to be something of a family business. While Biden’s brothers and son had few discernible business skills to market, they did have access — to him — to sell. The problem seems to be that they burned through the proceeds as fast as they acquired them.
What is new now, according to House Republicans, is an emerging pattern of how the Bidens turned influence-peddling into the equivalent of the family’s personal savings & loan operation. Money moving between key family members was labeled as a “loan” in at least one instance, and Hunter has claimed other money as “loans” — a framing that not only offered plausible deniability but non-taxable income.
Two IRS whistleblowers, who testified before House investigators in July, highlighted the use of a loan allegedly to evade public disclosure and taxation. Hunter allegedly took large payments from dubious foreign sources and listed them as “loans,” despite no evidence of repayment or any standard loan agreement.
This month, House investigators discovered that, in 2018, the president’s brother James received two loans totaling $600,000 from Americore Health, which they described as “a financially distressed and failing rural hospital operator.” According to the company’s bankruptcy proceedings, it made the loans “based upon representations that his last name, ‘Biden,’ could ‘open doors’” to new overseas investors. On the day he received the second loan transfer, James Biden sent a check for the same amount — $200,000 — to Joe Biden as a “loan reimbursement.”
What happened next was vintage Biden family: A Hollywood lawyer, who had just met Hunter at a political gathering, reportedly suddenly took over the repayment of that loan, with no explanation, and later reportedly paid for some of Hunter’s tax bills and living expenses as well. So, it appears that $250,000 went to Hunter, but the loan obligation was shifted to a Democratic political donor.
There is also a reference to another loan agreement with a Chinese company for $5.1 million. Notably, the loan was, again, “interest-free.” The source was CEFC China Energy headed by Ye Jianming. Text messages reportedly indicated plans for Joe Biden to meet with Jianming, who reportedly had close ties to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
In addition to these loans, money seemed to move between myriad accounts connected to various Biden family members, according to House Oversight Committee findings. And we know from reports of some of Hunter Biden’s text messages that he complained about using money he acquired to pay for repairs to his father’s Delaware home.
None of this, however, appears to pique much of the media’s curiosity. Because the word “loan” was written on some of these documents, it is once again accepted by many at face value. In discussing a “loan” connected to one Hunter-connected company, Rosemont Seneca Bohai, IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley called this a classic tax-evasion move. He said that “when the money came back to him, he booked it as a loan. You then go on to testify that it should’ve been taxable as soon as it became income from Burisma to Hunter and whatever he did with it after that was really just a scheme to evade taxes for that year. You add that Rosemont Seneca Bohai did not book this as a loan, itself, so Biden is treating it differently than they did.”
Despite the Bidens’ denials about money, it seems to be everywhere and nowhere — metastasizing and spreading throughout the dozens of accounts, banks and family members identified by House investigators. Yet many in the media and most Democratic members of Congress appear to be firmly committed to assuring that all of this remains “a wonderful life” for Joe Biden and his family.
Jonathan Turley, an attorney, constitutional law scholar and legal analyst, is the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School.