09.23.2020 1

‘Lunch Bucket Joe’ Livin’ Large

By Catherine Mortensen

After a career in government service, most federal workers walk away with a modest pension. Not Joe Biden. When he stepped into the office of vice president, CBS News reports he had a net worth of less than $30,000.  Three years after leaving office, his net worth rocketed to $9 million.

Today, Biden, who cultivated a decades-long brand as “Middle Class Joe” and often referred to himself as “one of the poorest members of Congress,” owns not one, but two multi-million-dollar mansions in Delaware, one in Wilmington and one at Rehoboth Beach. And prior to that, for many years he owned one of the DuPont family mansions.

So, how does a guy on a government pension life this large? He cashed in.

The Clintons famously did it when they left the White House. As did the Obamas.

The bulk of Biden’s wealth comes from a multi-book deal with Flatiron Books valued at $8 million per Publishers Weekly, but he also earned a sizable income from speaking engagements ($40,000-$190,000). In addition, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the former vice president “collected $371,159 in 2017 plus $540,484 in 2018 and early 2019 for a vaguely defined role that involved no regular classes and around a dozen public appearances on campus, mostly in big, ticketed events” at the University of Pennsylvania.

Biden and his wife Jill’s financial disclosures in July of 2019, showed they earned more than $15 million in 2017 and 2018.

“This kind of sleazy money grab is all-too common among Washington elite, and it’s one of the reasons the American people voted for Donald Trump,” said Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government.

Biden’s self-dealing extended to his family members, most notably his son Hunter Biden. In 2013 Biden orchestrated a sweetheart deal for China that allowed Chinese companies access to America’s capital markets without complying with the same strict disclosure regulations required of U.S. companies. This means U.S. financial regulators have no access to the books of these companies and no way of knowing their true value. Millions of Americans have retirement pensions in these potentially unsound companies.

It’s unclear exactly what concessions, if any, Biden got out of the 2013 deal. But it is telling that in that same year his son, Hunter Biden, became a board member at BHR Equity Investment Fund Management Company, a Chinese state-backed private equity firm, according to the New York Times and the South China Morning Post. In 2017, Hunter Biden bought 10 percent of the company for about $420,000, The Times reported.

Investigative journalist John Solomon has recently uncovered possible corruption involving several financial transactions of businesses connected to Hunter Biden. A Treasury Department agency that polices financial threats such as money laundering flagged some of these dealings as “suspicious” in 2016 and 2017.

According to Solomon, “Hunter Biden’s globe-trotting business activities have long generated controversy because they often occurred in the shadows of his father’s foreign policy portfolio.

“It appears Joe Biden used his office as vice president to enrich not only himself, but his family at the expense of hard-working Americans. What makes the Biden China deal so repugnant is that the Chinese Communist Party has been actively engaged in multi-dimensional warfare against the United States for at least a dozen years, including Biden’s entire tenure as Vice President, and these deals make him not only complicit but a financial partner in Beijing’s attacks on our nation’s national and economic security. It is a joke that Joe Biden suddenly is concerned for the massive impact on America’s workers due to the rise of China, when he was one of the primary authors of policies that facilitated the Chinese attacks on our nation’s manufacturing base,” noted Manning.

On the other hand, President Trump and his family haven’t earned a dime from their government service. Trump donates his salary to government agencies. Most recently he gave it to the Department of Health and Human Services to combat Covid-19. His daughter, Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, similarly do not collect a government paycheck.

Joe Biden is the poster boy for crony capitalism. He and his family cashed in on his government service, sometimes at the expense of the American people. Americans for Limited Government supports policies which allow individuals to pursue and create wealth. But we oppose the kind of crony capitalism that Biden and other before him use to enrich themselves after leaving office.

Catherine Mortensen is the Vice President of Communications at Americans for Limited Government.

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