An honest analysis of Hunter Biden’s adult life shows his most severe addiction problems came only after the influence-fueled gravy train that ultimately allowed him to “pay for everything for [his] entire family for 30 years” began to wind down — at the end of his father’s vice presidency.
The latest attempt by the corporate press to run interference for the Biden family seeks to downplay the importance of Hunter’s admitted tax and gun law violations by framing it all as a redemption story.
Against the backdrop of growing evidence of significant additional wrongdoing by Hunter and explosive whistleblower testimony that potentially implicates his father in an influence-peddling scheme, The New York Times would have you believe that “the main takeaway” is the “fine model of the love and support” that Joe Biden showed his son.
There is no doubt Hunter’s struggle with addiction has been heart-wrenching for his entire family and has left nothing but hurt in its wake. But there is no evidence to suggest his years-long addiction to illicit drugs and problems with pornography and prostitutes bears any responsibility for the present legal crisis that may ultimately engulf the president — unless one considers that Hunter abandoning his laptop and its treasure trove of damning evidence amid a drug-fueled bender allowed the entire story to emerge from the depths of the cover-up at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and into the public consciousness.
1996-2006: Success Typical of a Privileged Political Family
Until Joe Biden was sworn in as vice president in January 2009, Hunter’s professional career had largely been consistent with being the privileged son of a successful and powerful Washington politician: Shortly after Joe’s 1996 reelection to the Senate — as a recent law school grad who hadn’t yet passed his bar exam — Hunter was hired as an executive at MBNA Corporation.
MBNA was the Delaware financial services company (later sold to Bank of America) that had been so close with then-Sen. Biden that Byron York, writing for The American Spectator in a 1998 exposé, infamously nicknamed him “The Senator from MBNA.” In 2019, Matthew Yglesias, writing for Vox, conceded “[I]t’s more like Hunter got the job due to his dad’s overall cozy relationship with the company.”
Up until this point, Hunter’s struggles with addiction appear to have been primarily with the abuse of alcohol. Eventually, his alcohol abuse was so bad he checked himself into a month-long rehab program in 2003. Various hagiographies seeking to rehabilitate Hunter in the public’s eye, as well as his own biography, Beautiful Things, have candidly recounted Hunter’s trips to other rehab programs between 2010 and 2016, but he appears to have been at worst a very high-functioning alcoholic and recreational drug user during this time.
Indeed, it took Hunter barely two years to end up as senior vice president at MBNA, and by 1998 he transitioned into the realm of D.C. politics, first with a job in President Clinton’s Department of Commerce, then a move to a lobbying firm. In 2004, he added a part-time job into the mix when President George W. Bush appointed him to the board of Amtrak. Hunter’s success was always closely tied to Joe Biden’s stature in the Senate. The overlap between his lobbying clients would raise eyebrows from time to time, but their lobbying firm was adept at navigating what little Senate conflict-of-interest rules existed.
2006-2016: A Pivot from Lobbying to Private Equity and Consulting
By 2006, with Joe Biden set to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and planning for his 2008 bid for president underway, it became clear that navigating the minefield of parlaying the Biden name would become much more difficult — even if it was about to become much more lucrative.
It was also in 2006 that the president’s brother, James Biden, proposed buying the hedge fund Paradigm Global Advisors. Allegedly a way for Hunter to find a job outside the world of government lobbying, James pitched the Biden family connections with “state and municipal labor unions” as a source of new money for the firm in their initial merger agreement. In reality, it appears the fund served as a source of cash for James and Hunter and was eventually embroiled in multiple scandals and shady deals with various fraudsters. The Bidens maintained their innocence, and neither Paradigm nor the Bidens were ever officially connected to any criminal wrongdoing. Nonetheless, they began winding down Paradigm in 2010.
In 2008, Hunter founded Seneca Global Advisors as a consultancy to help companies grow their foreign business, and by 2009 he partnered with Christopher Heinz (former Secretary of State John Kerry’s stepson) to create Rosemont Seneca Partners, a $2.4 billion private equity firm. Heinz friend and college roommate Devon Archer was the managing partner. Heinz later distanced himself from the firm after Biden and Archer joined the Burisma board.
It is the millions of dollars ultimately earned from that venture that is alleged to have been misreported on Hunter’s tax returns. They have been the subject of ongoing criticism from Republicans since the story broke in the run-up to the 2020 election, and more recently as an IRS investigator’s whistleblower revelations have shed additional light, including how current DOJ officials may have attempted to discourage prosecution to minimize damage to the Biden administration.
2016-2019: Can a Crack Addict Do All That?
While it remains subject to debate whether Hunter is “the smartest man [Joe Biden] know[s],” it is clear he’s been successful at playing the cards he was dealt and parlaying the opportunities he was given into millions. That’s not easy, and it is particularly difficult to accomplish if you’re a crack addict. And it’s important to note that during this time period, there is no evidence that he was. So what changed?
In his biography, Beautiful Things, Hunter Biden acknowledged, “In the last five years alone, my two-decades-long marriage has dissolved, guns have been put in my face, and at one point I dropped clean off the grid, living in $59-a-night Super 8 motels off I-95 while scaring my family even more than myself.” Miranda Devine’s aptly named Laptop from Hell provides even more salacious details of this time period. A complete explanation of what triggered Hunter’s unprecedented “bender” from 2016 to 2019 may never be fully understood, but the idea that the only story here is simply one of a father’s love redeeming an addict who simply made some bad decisions betrays the more obvious backstory.
The discoveries from the laptop and reports in friendly media outlets corroborate the claim that Joe Biden was actively involved in helping Hunter find his way back to sobriety. However, the first public evidence of any significant effort toward that end by the elder Biden prior appears to be his heart-wrenching voicemail left on Oct. 15, 2018, after he had decided to run for president again. Make of that what you will, but there is clearly far more to the scandal than just “the story of a father’s love.”
That Joe Biden loves his son is undisputed. Whether Joe’s efforts to help Hunter get sober were ramped up based on his decision to enter the presidential race is an open question. Regardless, in addition to a chapter on love, the Hunter and Joe Biden story needs a chapter on the love of money — and how the entire Biden family was enriched by Hunter’s schemes.