Biden’s Classified Documents Scandal Raises Questions About Penn Biden Center’s Foreign Donations

As a second batch of classified government documents popped up in the garage of President Joe Biden’s Delaware home, Republican lawmakers want answers for the kind of records handling that got former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home raided.

The latest records revelation came Thursday after classified materials first found at the president’s former private office in the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

Meanwhile, the Biden Center, a think tank funded by the University of Pennsylvania, is coming under increased scrutiny as a “dark-money, revolving-door nightmare” where foreign competitors like China are suspected of currying favor with high-ranking officials.

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a government watchdog, filed a Freedom of Information Act request this week seeking to learn how classified records from the Obama-Biden administration ended up at the shadowy Biden Center. Now, NLPC counsel Paul Kamenar has been forced to file another records request following reports of a potentially more problematic records cache.

“There will be a supplemented FOIA out today,” Kamenar told The Star News Network.

“The question is, who handles these documents?” he added.

Ultimately, who has access?

Access to the Biden family has been a big concern in the wake of the myriad pay-to-play scandals surrounding the president’s troubled son, Hunter Biden, and Hunter’s uncle, James Biden.

Chief among the criminal allegations is a $5 million interest-free loan the Biden family received from a Chinese energy conglomerate when Joe Biden was vice president.

And there is a lot of money from Chinese donors tied up in the Penn Biden Center. We know that the center in 2017 received $30 million from Chinese contributors after the think tank was announced.

According to the Department of Education, the University of Penn took in $61 million in gifts and contracts from China between 2017-2019.

“This was a substantial uptick from the prior four years, when the university received $19 million from China,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.

In 2020, the National Legal and Policy Center asked then-Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and DOE’s General Counsel Paul Moore to open an investigation into the University of Pennsylvania and the Biden Center for failing to disclose anonymous gifts and contracts from China in violation of Section 117 of the Higher Education Act.

The act requires that all gifts or contracts exceeding $250,000 must disclose foreign ownership and control. NLPC found Penn received more than $67 million from China sources.

“More significantly, after the Penn Center opened here in Washington, D.C., in February 2018, the China gifts poured in all the more, and continued after Biden announced his candidacy of the presidency …, “ the letter states. The “gifts” included more than $22 million in anonymous donations.

See a partial list of the donors from China here.

The purpose of the disclosure requirement by Congress is to ensure that U.S. universities are not beholden to foreign governments and entities in their educational activities and programs. As the letter notes, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations described foreign spending on U.S. schools as “a black hole” because colleges and universities “routinely” fail to comply with the law, and reported foreign money can come with strings attached that might compromise academic freedom.

The center believes the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Biden Center are particularly vulnerable to China’s government because of the large amounts of donations and contracts coming from the communist nation. At the height of the Chinese coverup of the pandemic, Penn Global sponsored the 2020 Penn China Research Symposium on January 31, 2020, that included opening remarks by Ambassador Huang Ping, Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in New York.

“The Penn Biden Center is a dark-money, revolving-door nightmare where foreign competitors like China donated millions of dollars to the university so that they could have access to future high-ranking officials,” Tom Anderson, director of NLPC’s Government Integrity Project National Legal and Policy Center, told the New York Post.

Multiple sources have reported that the FBI has been interviewing some of Biden’s aides involved in moving the records.

NBC reported:

Kathy Chung, who was Biden’s executive assistant while he was vice president and helped pack up his vice presidential office in January 2017, is among those who have been interviewed, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing inquiry. Chung currently serves as deputy director of protocol for Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Chung has shown up in some curious communications with Hunter and James Biden, whose connections with suspect foreign nationals runs broad and deep.

An email from Chung to Hunter Biden in May 2015 contains phone numbers of former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and several high-ranking congressmen. Another message to Biden shows Chung had all kinds of connections to top ranking cabinet and federal officials at the time.

“Any foreign power would love to have this information,” General Michael Flynn has said about the emails, calling the contents “a ‘treasure trove’ of intelligence.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), House Judiciary Committee chairman, said the latest batch of classified documents “discovered” raise a lot of questions, among them the apparent double standard on government records — one set of rules for former President Trump, another for Biden.

“I think a ton of questions. You know, like the basic where’s the raid? Where’s the pictures? Where’s the special counsel? What’s a batch? What’s that mean? We know it’s more than one. So is this two documents? Is this 2,000 documents? What’s the location?” Jordan said Thursday on Fox News. “Why was it lawyers doing the moving from the first location. I mean, normally when we move something, you get your relatives together, you buy pizza and you get a truck and you move things. But no, they had lawyers in there packing boxes and looking at things.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday appointed former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur, who was nominated by Trump, as special counsel to lead an investigation into the documents found at Biden’s home and private office.

Senators Demand Answers

U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter this week to Richard Sauber, the president’s Special Counsel, seeking answers to Biden’s understanding of federal records-keeping requirements.

“The Biden Administration may understand the federal records laws but it does not appear that they were properly followed by then-Vice President Biden,” the senators wrote.

Johnson, ranking member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary, have been down this road before.

In July 2021, the senators requested information from Dana A. Remus, then-Counsel to the President, on reports that Biden, as vice president, used a non-government email for official business, including the transmission of government information to his son, Hunter Biden. After the White House failed to respond for nearly a year, Johnson and Grassley pressed the administration again in June 2022 after the discovery of an additional non-government email pseudonym associated with Joe Biden.

“I can say that the Biden/ Harris Administration recognizes and understand the federal records laws,” Sauber wrote in an email to the senators’ staff in response.

The senators disagree.

“Aside from your brief and vague email to our staff, the White House has failed to respond to our previous letters. In light of the recent news regarding the inappropriate storage of classified documents, the White House must immediately provide transparency relating to then-Vice President Biden’s archiving of records,” the senators wrote to Sauber.

They seek the following information:

What steps did then-Vice President Biden take to ensure that all his government emails and related communications were properly stored and archived?

Does President Biden use non-governmental email, including the following addresses and pseudonyms, to communicate government business or email his family members government information?  If so, what steps have been taken to ensure that those communications satisfy federal record-keeping and archival requirements?

a)  “RobinWare456”

b)  “Robert.L.Peters”

c)   “JRB Ware”; and

d)  “67stingray”

With respect to the documents that are reportedly marked classified, what is the classification level for each document?

Why is the Penn Biden Center vacating its office space in Washington, D.C.?  When was this decided?

Please provide the name(s) of the attorneys who “were packing files” at the Penn Biden Center.

How many documents were packed at the Penn Biden Center?  Has the National Archives requested to review all of the other documents at this location?

Are there other locations where President Joe Biden has stored records from his time as vice president?  If so, has the National Archives requested to review those documents?

Has the National Archives requested the White House to provide all documents that include the pseudonyms and email addresses listed above that then-Vice President Biden used?

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M.D. Kittle is National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Joe Biden at Penn Biden Center” by Penn Biden Center.



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