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In the legend of Pandora’s box, the cursed Pandora unleashes a multitude of evils upon the world. Notably, the only thing she was able to trap in the box or jar was something that should be a bounty in Washington this week: hope.
The likely Republican takeover of the House could lead to a slew of investigations in the coming months. Washington is famous for handling scandals. Indeed, it is a virtual art form in the Beltway. However, there is one investigation that comes closest to Pandora’s box for the Washington establishment. A serious investigation into the Hunter Biden scandal could plunge the political and media elite into an existential crisis.
Here are the ‘usual suspects’ who may find themselves under a microscope for the first time following a full investigation of Hunter Biden.
The Biden family has long been associated with influence peddling as they could add an access key to their family crest. Although they may be more aggressive than most families, influence peddling has long been a cottage industry in Washington. For decades I have written about this loophole in bribery laws. It is illegal to give a congressman or president even $100 to gain influence. However, you can literally give millions to their spouses or children in the form of exceptional contracts or comfortable jobs.
James Biden has been remarkably (even refreshingly) open about marketing his access to his brother. Former Americare executive Tom Pritchard and others allege Biden openly referenced his access to his brother and his last name in his pitch for clients. James has faced a wide range of litigation over alleged fraudulent activity as well as a personal loan acquired through Americore prior to his bankruptcy.
Hunter worked with his uncle but also went into the family business on his own. While his father recently pointed out that his son was a hopeless drug addict, this defense is in stark contrast to the fact that he maintained a multi-million dollar influence peddling scheme. The question is why foreign figures (some associated with foreign intelligence) rushed to him for international money transfers and complex transactions worth millions from Moscow to Kyiv to Beijing.
However, perhaps the most concerned Biden is the president himself. Joe Biden has repeatedly denied knowledge of Hunter Biden’s business entanglements despite numerous emails and photos showing him meeting with Hunter associates. That includes at least 19 visits to the White House by Hunter’s partner Eric Schwerin alone between 2009 and 2015.
While emails on Hunter Biden’s laptop repeatedly refer to his father as a possible recipient of influence peddling funds. Indeed, in an email, then-Hunter business partner Tony Bobulinski was told by Biden associate James Gilliar that the Bidens wanted to avoid such references: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, c is only when you [sic] are face to face, I know you [sic] know it but they are paranoid.”
In discussing these agreements, Joe Biden is referenced with code names such as “Celtic” or “the big guy”. In one, “the big guy” is described as being eligible for a 10% discount on a deal with a Chinese energy company. There are also references to Hunter paying his father’s bills from shared accounts. From his board memberships and corporate deals to legal fees and his artistic deals, Hunter Biden is a tour de force of the alleged corrupt practices used in Washington. Indeed, while his skills as a painter and lawyer have come into question, Hunter’s remarkable skills in influence peddling may soon be front and center in Washington.
The bandits of the device
One of the things that worries the establishment the most is that these emails threaten to pull back the curtain on the cottage industry of influence peddling. The emails contain an array of children linked to powerful Democratic and Republican leaders. For example, one of Hunter’s closest associates was John Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz. Like Joe Biden, Kerry is also accused of falsely denying knowledge of his son’s business dealings. Even late mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s nephew, Jim Bulger, was a business associate of Hunter Biden. The Bulgers were a powerful Democratic family in Massachusetts.
Surrounding these well-connected children are an array of insiders tied to the top of the Democratic and Republican parties. An array of lawyers and political operatives quickly formed around the most powerful to profit from these foreign deals. An investigation of Hunter Biden could not shine a light on his conduct without shining a light on everyone who supports the influence peddling industry.
The media is the last group that could be collateral damage in any investigation. This influence peddling could not have happened without the assurance that the media had the Bidens’ backs. Imagine what the media would have done with just one of these agreements with foreign political or influential figures if a child of Trump had been the recipient. The genius of the Biden influence peddling operation was to make the media an early and active participant. The media and social media companies have almost universally buried the Hunter Biden scandal ahead of the 2020 election. They have invested themselves in denial for two years of bashing or dismissing the story.
Disclosure of corrupt practices linked to the Bidens will erode what little trust there is left for the media. Figures like Bobulinski and the underlying emails were available to the media before the 2020 election. However, the media showed surprisingly little interest in pursuing the facts of influence peddling. Bobulinski and others will now likely have a chance to be heard.
Obviously, other groups are also worried about what the sun will reveal in this scandal. This includes the FBI which appears to have scuttled or slowed down early efforts to investigate Biden’s dealings. It also includes Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has staunchly refused to appoint a special advocate despite overwhelming support for such an appointment.
There’s a difference, of course, between opening Hunter’s laptop and opening Pandora’s box: few in the Beltway expected to find hope in its sorted contents.