WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, America First Legal (AFL) released its third tranche of emails from the National Archives in response to AFL’s request and lawsuit for records from Joe Biden’s time as Vice President in the Obama Administration and Hunter Biden’s corrupt foreign business dealings.
On March 3, 2023, AFL filed a Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Complaint against Hunter Biden, based on information contained in the first set of documents obtained by AFL as a result of this litigation. These new emails provide further evidence that Hunter Biden’s personal business activities comingled with Joe Biden’s official business beginning in Vice President Biden’s first year in the White House.
These records include evidence that:
- Vice President Biden’s closest advisors held confidential discussions about Hunter Biden’s consulting firm, Seneca Global Advisors.
- Hunter’s foreign travel and personal business and financial matters involved discussions with White House staff and other political appointees in the Obama Administration.
- On the same day that a CCP official was addressing allegations of political retaliation against an Anglo-Australian mining company, Hunter’s business partner involved with CCP-backed mining deals was reaching out to the Vice President’s advisor about that CCP official’s upcoming visit.
- The National Archives continues to unlawfully withhold records from the American public through improper and partisan applications of the Presidential Records Act.
According to the National Archives, this set of emails was responsive to AFL’s request for records regarding Hunter Biden and his corrupt foreign business dealings and records from Joe Biden’s time as Vice President in the Obama Administration because they included the company name “Seneca Global Advisors,” the consulting firm founded by Hunter Biden in 2008 that “helped companies expand into global markets.”
On May 18, 2009, Alan Hoffman, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice President, sent an email to Michael Mongan, Deputy Counsel to the Vice President, with the subject line: “FW: Ethiopia.”
The entire email was withheld because its release “would disclose confidential advice between the President and his advisors, or between such advisors.”
However, we know from Senators Grassley and Johnson’s joint committee majority staff report that Hunter was a Secret Service protectee on an official trip to Ethiopia in June 2009. If Hunter’s trip to Ethiopia only involved his personal business with Seneca Global Advisors, Biden’s White House advisors’ discussion about Hunter’s trip would not have involved confidential advice to the Vice President.
While it is unclear exactly how much Hunter profited through his consulting firm by leveraging his access to foreign officials through his father’s official position, Senator Grassley and Senator Johnson’s supplemental report indicates that Hunter maintained an equity stake in Seneca Global Advisors according to financial documents relating to CEFC, the CCP-affiliated company Hunter had agreed to advise.
On May 22, 2009, Jennifer Prewitt emailed Hunter’s Rosemont Seneca business partner, Eric Schwerin, and CC’ed Hunter Biden, Nancy Massey (Office of the Vice President), Rob Walker (Biden family associate who received money from a Chinese energy company, and subsequently transferred money to Biden family accounts), Nelson Peacock (former Biden Senate staffer serving as an Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security), Edward Prewitt (Hunter Biden’s financial advisor involved with suspicious transactions flagged by the Treasury Department), and Matt FitzSimmons.
The National Archives withheld the record in full because, allegedly, the record was a “personal record” that was “misfiled” according to the Presidential Records Act.
While Hunter’s business activities with Seneca Global Advisors, Rosemont Seneca, Rob Walker, and his financial advisor would seem “personal” in nature, the involvement of political appointees in the White House and the Department of Homeland Security infer that Hunter’s activities were commingled with Vice President Biden’s official business during the Obama Administration. As such, the National Archives improperly withheld the record under the Presidential Records Act.
On July 14, 2009, Hunter Biden’s business associate, Eric Schwerin, emailed Hunter and the Vice President’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Alan Hoffman, at his personal email address about “Mr. Gang’s visit.” The National Archives withheld the email in full because its release “would disclose confidential advice between the President and his advisors, or between such advisors.”
On that day, China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang spoke at a press conference addressing China’s arrest of employees of Rio Tinto, the world’s second-largest metals and mining corporation, for alleged bribery and espionage. Because the National Archives withheld the email in full, it is unclear what was communicated between Hunter’s private business associate and his father’s White House staff, and whether it was related to the topic addressed by Mr. Gang. However, according to the New York Times, Hunter Biden’s CCP-backed investment fund, Bohai Harvest RST (BHR), was heavily involved with financing China’s acquisition of mining interests around the world, presumably in competition with Rio Tinto.
According to documents obtained by the House Oversight Committee, Eric Schwerin was the president of the since-dissolved investment fund Rosemont Seneca Partners, which, according to Senators Grassley and Johnson’s joint committee majority staff report, was merged with CCP-linked firm Bohai Capital to form BHR. So on the same day that a CCP official was addressing allegations of political retaliation against Rio Tinto, Hunter’s business partner involved with CCP-backed mining deals was reaching out to Vice President Biden’s Deputy Chief of Staff about that CCP official’s upcoming visit.
Raising further concern, by applying a P5 exemption to the record, the National Archives indicates that it contains “confidential advice between the President and his advisors, or between such advisors.” If the National Archives is asserting that Eric Schwerin was an official advisor to Vice President Biden, that relationship has not been previously disclosed and raises the specter of serious ethics violations stemming from the conflict of interest. Alternatively, this is just another example of the National Archives unlawfully withholding a record from the American public through an improper application of the Presidential Records Act.
The National Archives continues to abuse the Presidential Records Act to unlawfully conceal these emails, and the evidence of the Biden family’s corruption (while simultaneously weaponizing it against a political opponent), and AFL intends to challenge this improper concealment in court. At the same time, AFL urges Congress to conduct aggressive oversight to fully uncover Joe Biden’s cynical exploitation of his office to advance his family’s business interests.
Read AFL’s request and all of the National Archives’ responses here.
Statement from Reed D. Rubinstein, America First Legal Senior Counsel and Director of Oversight and Investigations:
“This latest release by the National Archives provides additional evidence suggesting that Vice President Biden and his family viewed the Office of the Vice President as an ATM. Protected by the Secret Service, Hunter Biden traveled the world, apparently leveraging his father’s office to generate generational family wealth. The grift was cynical and brazen.” said Reed Rubinstein.
Read the new documents here.
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