Biden’s ‘phenomenally successful’ partnership with foreign-funded Penn examined

FILE – President Joe Biden talks about infrastructure during an event at the Kansas City Area Transit Authority Dec. 8, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (G3 Box News Photo/Charlie Riedel, File) Charlie Riedel/G3 Box News

Biden’s ‘phenomenally successful’ partnership with foreign-funded Penn examined

Katherine Doyle

January 20, 05:30 AM January 20, 05:30 AM

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Republicans in Congress are ramping up investigations into President Joe Biden’s Washington think tank, the center’s funding, and who had access to the previously little-known center after classified documents were discovered inside a closet.

The revelation has revived concerns about the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement’s affiliation with the University of Pennsylvania, which government records show received tens of millions of dollars in donations from foreign countries, including large sums from donors who have not been publicly disclosed. The think tank was created as a post-vice presidency perch for Biden and part of a paid but largely ceremonial faculty arrangement.

Federal records show that the university has accepted more than $100 million in contributions from Chinese, Saudi Ministry of Defense, and other foreign entities, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Washington Free Beacon, donations that surged once Biden left office and joined the university as it sought to expand its overseas footprint.


It was a relationship the university called “phenomenally successful.”

“He helped to expand Penn’s global outreach, while sharing his wisdom and insights with thousands of Penn students through seminars, talks and classroom visits,” Stephen MacCarthy, vice president of communications for the university, told the New York Times in a 2021 statement. MacCarthy added, “He was able to bring prominent world figures to Penn’s campus for forums and conferences to discuss and debate critically important issues.”

While the university had touted the arrangement, the appointment was “met with confusion,” according to the Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn’s student paper.

Biden made visits to the Penn campus and gave remarks “on at least five occasions,” according to the outlet, yet “never taught a formal class,” despite describing himself as “a teacher.”

Biden was paid $911,000 for his services, a sum that drew scrutiny from ethics experts who questioned why a university accepting federal funds would offer such “astronomical” compensation.

Fueling the arrangement was Biden’s close relationship with Amy Gutmann, Penn’s president at the time and now Biden’s ambassador to Germany.

A prolific fundraiser, lawmakers questioned Gutmann about the university’s fundraising from China during her Senate confirmation hearing in late 2021. She has said the center’s backing came from the university’s general funds.

Her nomination prompted Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer for former President George W. Bush, to oppose Gutmann’s appointment because it would risk “the credibility of our foreign policy, and our national security in the face of growing foreign influence of American universities.”

The discovery of a “small number of documents with classified markings” inside a closet at the Penn Biden Center has reignited those concerns.

In letters this week, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-KY) demanded to know who had access to the think tank and called on the university to say whether it had received any donations from China.

Speaking to the Washington Examiner, Painter urged the university to disclose “who was in and out of there.”

“They are classified documents sitting in there for six years, illegally. And this is a center set up by a university president who raised tens of millions [of dollars] from the Chinese and had deals with the Saudi defense forces,” Painter said.

Frustration over the White House’s handling of the matter has mounted in the days since CBS News reported that classified files were found inside the Penn Biden Center.

Biden has said he takes classified info seriously and is “fully cooperating” with the investigation, stating on Thursday that the White House is “looking forward to getting [the case] resolved quickly.”

“I have no regrets,” Biden added.

Yet the White House has declined to answer dozens of questions about the discoveries, including whether a damage assessment is underway over the possible national security implications of the breach. Instead, aides have directed questions to the Justice Department and White House counsel’s office.

When another batch of files was disclosed days after Biden’s press secretary had appeared to indicate to reporters that the search had concluded, reporters at the White House called into question Karine Jean-Pierre’s credibility.

Pressure from newly empowered House Republicans on Capitol Hill has also yielded little, with the White House striking an increasingly combative tone.

G3 Box News

A Dec. 10 letter from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) requesting an assessment from the director of national intelligence’s office has gone unanswered, according to G3 Box News.

Asked this week about Republican investigations, an aide to Biden accused House Republicans of waging “political stunts.”

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