House Oversight panel to probe China money to university where Biden worked, classified memos found

University of Pennsylvania and its reliance on Chinese donations during the time it employed Joe Biden has emerged as major issue.

Published: January 12, 2023 7:19pm

Updated: January 12, 2023 8:23pm

The chairman of the main House investigative committee announced Thursday that he is expanding his probe of the Biden family to examine the University of Pennsylvania's reliance on Chinese donations during the time it employed President Joe Biden and hosted his think tank, where classified documents were recently found improperly stored.

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer announced the decision after Just the News reported Wednesday night that the Ivy League university, affectionately known as Penn, collected $67.6 million in donations from Chinese sources between 2013 and 2019, two-thirds of it while employing Joe Biden as a guest professor and hosting his Penn Biden Center.

The university's faculty later successfully pressured the Biden Justice Department to end the FBI's primary Chinese counterespionage effort -- known as the China Initiative -- that sought to root out spies in U.S. academia. 

"This is very concerning," Comer told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show. "We're sending a letter to Penn requesting documents related to the Chinese donations. We want a list of individuals involved, whoever was involved in soliciting donations from China. We want all communications because I think this is very important.

He added, "This is another aspect of the potential for this family to be compromised."

The expansion came just hours after Attorney General Merrick Garland said the discovery of classified documents at the Penn Biden Center and at Joe Biden's personal homes had developed evidence of improper storage of national secrets and warranted the appointment of a special counsel.

Garland named a former U.S. Attorney appointed by President Donald Trump to be special counsel. That prosecutor, Robert Hur, built a reputation for pursuing Democratic corruption in Baltimore and Maryland.

Comer's panel has already launched a wide-ranging probe of how Hunter Biden pursued lucrative foreign business deals in the shadow of his father's vice presidency with countries like Ukraine, Russia, China and Romania that scored the future first family millions of dollars.

Comer said he was particularly concerned that Penn collected $47.7 million in donations and contracts with Chinese interests during the 2.5 years it employed Joe Biden and housed his think tank because it overlapped with Hunter Biden's efforts to score business with a Chinese energy company known as CEFC. That deal landed $5 million interest-free, forgivable loans that enriched the Biden family.

Hunter Biden also was involved in courting Penn before it hired his father, hosting a dinner with the university president and later being asked by his father to attend a meeting between the vice president and university president, emails on a Hunter Biden laptop seized by the FBI show.

Comer said the sequences of events -- from Chinese business deals to the family, China donations to the university and the school's later role in pressing the Biden DOJ to change a policy in way that might be viewed as favorable to Beijing  -- "proves that this administration could in fact be compromised by China."

"This is an example of China, with their money, influencing American policy," he said. "Every person that has any knowledge or experience with academia knows that China has infiltrated all of our research universities with Chinese spies. That is a fact everyone knows it. "

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