The growing web of conflicts of interest surrounding the Biden family stretches far beyond the potentially criminal overseas business activity conducted by the former vice president’s son and brother.
According to a new report from Politico published Tuesday, ethics experts are raising eyebrows at Biden son-in-law’s health care start ups capitalizing on the coronavirus pandemic while Joe Biden remains within a three-week striking distance of capturing the White House.
Howard Krein, the paper reported, who married Biden’s daughter, Ashley, in 2012, is advising the Democratic nominee’s presidential campaign while simultaneously investing in health care start-ups that could be on the other end of receiving billions in government pandemic spending.
In April, Krein’s investment firm, StartUP Health, announced it would be sending $1 million to 10 startups working on the coronavirus pandemic after Krein was reported by Bloomberg and the New York Times to be participating in daily calls with the Democratic candidate advising him on public health.
“StartUp Health is putting the full support of its platform and network behind building a post-Covid world that uses technology and entrepreneurial ingenuity to improve health outcomes,” the company wrote in an April statement.
StartUp Health was launched in 2011, a year after Krein began dating Biden’s daughter. The firm, which has invested in more than 300 health care businesses and enjoyed a close relationship with the Obama White House, even prominently employs the same “Moonshot” terminology to describe its goals as employed by the former vice president in starting the Cancer Moonshot initiative.
Avik Roy, who founded his own investment firm named Roy Healthcare Research, said Krein’s close access to the potential president on its own is likely to court big-money interest.
“I have little doubt that the relationship to Joe Biden, particularly if he becomes president, would attract the interest of some investors,” Roy told Politico, adding that the relationship could also land Krein’s firm stakes in competitive startups.
“People who are plugged in have an advantage, and that is a common feature of a lot of heavily regulated industries,” Roy told the paper.
Politico reported that existing ethics concerns are amplified by StartUp Health’s foreign investments from Swiss and Chinese firms.
A spokesperson for the Biden campaign simply pointed Politico to an earlier statement playing down Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings when contacted by the magazine questioning Krein’s conflicts of interest.
“I have never discussed, with my son or my brother or with anyone else, anything having to do with their businesses. Period,” Biden said in South Carolina. “And what I will do is the same thing we did in our administration.”
However, consequent revelations unearthed earlier this year illustrated that Biden’s office knew more than what was reported last year about Hunter Biden’s overseas business activity that set off red flags within the State Department and the Justice Department.
According to a Senate report chronicling the Biden family’s conflicts of interest while Joe Biden served as vice president, the owner of Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board raking in excess compensation, allegedly paid a $7 million bribe to Ukrainian officials to shut down a government investigation.
Upon learning of the illegal payment, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent told Senate investigators that the Ukraine embassy’s DOJ official relayed the information to the FBI. Congressional lawmakers, who have since requested information from the federal law enforcement agency, were stonewalled from any information on a FBI possible probe. The FBI maintained that it was against agency protocol to either confirm or deny the existence of any such investigation despite freely commenting on the deep-state coordinated Russia Hoax against President Donald Trump.
Kent had also raised his concerns over Hunter Biden’s lucrative role in Ukraine with Biden’s White House office but was dismissed by the vice president’s staff.
“I raised my concerns that I had heard that Hunter Biden was on the board of a company owned by somebody that the U.S. Government had spent money trying to get tens of millions of dollars back and that could create the perception of a conflict of interest,” Kent told House members during a private deposition in October during the impeachment proceedings last year. “The message that I recall hearing back was that the vice president’s son Beau was dying of cancer and that there was no further bandwidth to deal with family-related issues at that time … That was the end of that conversation.”
The long-anticipated Senate report last month also expanded the Biden family’s conflicts of interest to Joe Biden’s brother, James. According to the report, Chinese businessmen engaged with the Biden family’s overseas ventures provided Hunter, James, and James’ wife Sara Biden with a line of credit where the family went on a more than $100,000 shopping spree to purchase extravagant items from airplane tickets to Apple products.
Senate investigators have flagged the transaction as potential financial criminal activity.