Biden-Penn-China funding concerns flagged for then-Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro 18 months ago

Concerns about secrecy of Chinese donations, $911k paid to Biden for figurehead think tank role were raised in a July 2021 letter to now-Gov. Shapiro, with no official action taken by the then-AG.

Published: January 12, 2023 3:05pm

Updated: January 12, 2023 11:32pm

Concerns about funding ties linking China, Joe Biden and the heavily Chinese-funded University of Pennsylvania were brought to the attention of state law enforcement almost two years ago, with no official action taken by the state's then-Attorney General Josh Shapiro or any members of his staff. 

The letter, sent by a group called "Take Back Our Republic" and addressed to Shapiro and other high-ranking members of his team, was sent in July of 2021. That was nearly a year and a half before the Biden classified document story broke, resulting in Attorney General Merrick Garland appointing a special counsel on Thursday to investigate the matter. 

The letter requested that the state attorney general "open an investigation" into three major concerns, "all concerning the charitable fundraising and use of funds by the University of Pennsylvania." 

The first concern cited by the group was "the excessive compensation — almost $4 million — for the President of the University of Pennsylvania Amy Gutmann."

After assisting with the creation of the Biden-Penn center and trading various messages with the president's son Hunter, Gutmann was named ambassador to Germany following the 2020 election. 

"Unlike a for profit corporation there are no shareholders to act as a check on self dealing," the letter continued. "That is the job of the state Attorney General. Gutmann's salary is far in excess of that of other university presidents about twenty times the compensation of the Governor of Pennsylvania. There's such a thing as too much and this is way too much." 

The second concern was the secrecy veiling large foreign donations to the university. Penn "raised hundreds of millions of dollars in secret donations from China and Saudi Arabia," the letter noted. "While raising money from abroad is not per se illegal for an American nonprofit, there are serious legal concerns when the money is secret and foreign governments may be involved.

"Who gave this money, where did it go, and what strings were attached? These are all matters properly within the scope of an investigation by your office. Any violations of federal law, including the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 should be reported to the Department of Justice. Still, in the first instance it is the responsibility of your office to assure that foreign money flowing into Pennsylvania nonprofits is legal, and to the extent possible, fully disclosed." 

The third matter flagged was the nearly $1 million in compensation that the university paid Biden over the years 2017-19. 

"Biden was appointed a 'professor' although he never taught a class," the letter said. "If Biden did not perform services for the University worth $911,000 this is a serious misapplication of nonprofit funds in violation of Pennsylvania law. If there was any quid pro quo arrangement — for example a promise to Penn President Amy Gutmann of an appointment similar to the ambassadorship for which she has now been nominated — that also would be a violation of Pennsylvania nonprofit law."

Citing the possibility that Penn was used as a conduit for foreign donations to Biden's presidential campaign, the group urged the attorney general to share the results of any investigation "with the Federal Election Commission and other federal authorities depending upon what you find." 

"We sent this letter due to the obvious quid pro quo, but now we know that was just the tip of the iceberg," John Pudner, president of Take Back Our Republic Action, said in an interview with Just the News. "At the time we knew they were paying Biden, but we did not even know about the actual Penn Biden [Center] office which appears to have served as a de facto campaign office for Biden 2020, used by 10 of his senior campaign staff and the place Hunter Biden asked to be used for him to meet with 'Dad' and [Penn President] Amy Gutmann."

The Penn president and, later, Biden pick as ambassador to Germany "chose to provide a virtual campaign office from 501c3 funds out of her pool that included massive Chinese donations," Pudner alleged. 

Just the News sought comment from the Pennsylvania attorney general's office as well as now-Gov. Josh Shapiro, who was elected in the 2022 midterms. Neither office responded to requests for comment. 

You can follow Nick on Twitter at NGivasDC

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