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White House chief of staff Klain once tried to 'hit up' Hunter Biden for foundation donation

The funds were for the Vice President's Residence Foundation, of which Klain was chairman at time of request

Published: April 5, 2022 1:46pm

Updated: April 5, 2022 2:57pm

Ron Klain – between gigs as Vice President Biden and President Biden's chief of staff – reportedly asked son Hunter Biden for a $20,000 donation for a foundation dedicated to upscaling the government-owned vice president's residence.

The ask was made in 2012 while Klain was chairman of the Vice President's Residence Foundation, according to emails obtained by the New York Post and Fox News.

The emails reportedly have Klain telling Hunter about the request: "Keep it low key" to avoid "bad PR" and beginning his pitch by saying he had to "tackle a piece of unpleasant business."

"The tax lawyers for the VP Residence Foundation have concluded that since the Cheney folks last raised money in 2007 and not 2008, we actually have to have some incoming funds before the end of this fiscal year (i.e., before 9/30/12 – next week) to remain eligible to be a 'public charity'," Klain wrote.

Hunter Biden's lucrative overseas employment and income while his father was vice president were a matter of great interest during the 2020 elections, in which his father won the U.S. presidency.

Klain also said the emails that he was "hitting up a few very close friends on a very confidential basis to write checks of $2,000 each."

"We need to keep this low low key, because raising money for the Residence now is bad PR — but it has to be done, so I’m trying to just collect the 10 checks of $2,000, get it done in a week, and then, we can do an event for the Residence Foundation after the [2012 presidential] election," he wrote. 

Fox reports that Hunter then forwarded the message to his longtime business partner and financial manager, Eric Schwerin, and told Klain he was "working on it."

According to a 990 tax form from the fiscal 2012, the foundation received $20,500 in contributions. It is unclear whether Hunter Biden or his law firm, Owasco PC, made donations. 

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