During a recent news conference, U.S. Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, offered an observation.
Joe Biden is far from the first president, he said, to have relatives accused of taking advantage of their family ties.
Comer cited multiple examples, including former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The New York Times has reported that wealth funds linked to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Kushner’s private equity firm after Trump left office.
“This has been a pattern for a long time,” Comer said. “Republicans and Democrats have both complained about presidents’ families receiving money.”
Buck Wolf wrote about the issue nearly 20 years ago in a column for ABC News. The spotlight then was on Neil Bush, brother of then-President George W. Bush. A computer chip company backed by the son of a former Chinese president had promised to pay the younger Bush $2 million, even though he had no background in semiconductors.
Wolf offered several examples, including Billy Carter, brother of Jimmy Carter, our nation’s 39th president. Billy leveraged his celebrity into an array of products, including “Billy Beer,” but his antics took on a more serious tone when he accepted a $200,000 loan from the rogue nation of Libya.
When Jimmy Carter lost his bid for re-election, Billy took none of the blame. “I think I helped Jimmy as much as I hurt him,” he said. “Certainly, I didn’t hurt him enough to lose 44 states.”
Folks at the time saw Billy Carter as a buffoon, an object of comedy rather than contempt. It’s a different story with Hunter Biden.
For the record, the U.S. Department of Justice began investigating the prodigal son’s business dealings at least two years before his dad was elected president. NBC News reported the younger Biden’s legal team met with federal prosecutors in April to discuss the investigation and potential charges, including tax evasion.
In the meantime, Comer’s committee has released a 36-page memo outlining its findings.
The committee found that Biden family members, associates and their businesses received more than $10 million in payments from people or companies with foreign ties during and after Biden’s tenure as vice president.
Among other things, bank records show that Biden family members received money from a company connected to Gabriel Popoviciu, a Romanian businessman convicted in his home country on corruption charges.
Asked whether the committee had uncovered evidence of the president’s involvement, Comer said he didn’t think anyone would believe nine members of the Biden family receiving money was coincidental.
“We believe that there was a return on the investment,” he said.
He could not, however, provide proof of that. He couldn’t even show that the elder Biden knew about the transactions.
Still, radio show host Dan Bongino took to Twitter to insist it was now indisputable that Joe Biden was running “a shakedown operation.” U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene added, “Bank records trace $10 MILLION funneled to Biden Crime Family, their business associates and their companies.”
Comer says his committee’s goal is to offer transparency and perhaps even draft legislation addressing the issue of individuals profiting from a family member’s position in government.
One possibility would be to require family members of senior elected officials to publicly disclose foreign transactions. The committee might also call for quicker review of any suspicious bank activity.
Given the examples of Billy Carter, Hunter Biden and the others, such legislation might be a good idea.
Joe Biden, meanwhile, would probably do well to follow the example of Jimmy Carter.
“I have more influence over members of the U.S. Senate,” the former president once said, “than I do over Billy.”
My guess is our current president could say the same thing about Hunter.
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