Democrats say that the swirl of allegations surrounding Hunter Biden—kicked off by two reporters at the New York Post, furthered by Peter Schweizer’s writing in Breitbart News, and contextualized by the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel—have not been proven.
Fair enough: We can have full confidence that the information on Hunter Biden’s laptop computer, as well as corroborating allegations coming from other sources, will be thoroughly investigated. Right?
After all, there should be no doubt that Hunter Biden’s laptop, reportedly in an FBI vault, is safe and secure. Right? So nothing bad will happen to it, or to any other evidence associated with the case. Right? Similarly, any and all allegations about how Joe Biden, and the rest of his family—and even Kamala Harris—might be involved will be carefully reviewed. Right? Right?
Yet as we wait for the wheels of justice to do their proper grinding, we might look back to some issues concerning Joe Biden that are not in dispute. And why aren’t they in dispute? Because they are part of the historical record, and it’s a record that sheds light on Biden’s long-standing association with crony capitalism. For instance:
On October 27, 2009, Vice President Biden stood in front of the shut-down Boxwood Road manufacturing plant in Wilmington, Delaware, and proclaimed that the facility would soon be reopening and making hybrid electric cars. As the vice president said that day:
American innovators, American business, American labor has never let this country down when we’ve been given a fighting chance. And today, this factory in Delaware, and the industry, are going to get back up off the mat.
The occasion was the announcement that the U.S. government was loaning money to Fisker Automotive to start building cars in Biden’s home state. The cheering headline on the White House blog: “‘You’ve Got to Believe’ — Building the Cars of the Future in America.”
If that name, Fisker Automotive, isn’t familiar, perhaps that’s because the company didn’t last long. Having received at least $193 million from Uncle Sam, Fisker declared bankruptcy in 2014 and was bought out by a Chinese company, Wanxiang. (An all-new company, Fisker, Inc., was created in 2016.)
Yet as the Washington Post reported in 2013, while Fisker Automotive was alive, it benefited from a “fog of politically connected investors and lobbyists, as well-placed as former Vice President Al Gore, who was an initial investor in Fisker and a senior partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.” We might observe that the “fog” that the Post mentioned is another name for “swamp.” The newspaper added that another partner at Kleiner Perkins, John Doerr, served on President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
In other words, Fisker was connected. Too bad its connections didn’t add up to a viable commercial product—and so all of Biden’s cheerleading was for naught.
By now, memories of other boondoggles from the Obama era—most notoriously, Solyndra—might come flooding back. We can note that many of these misadventures stemmed from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the so-called “stimulus bill,” which Obama signed into law on February 17, 2009.
It’s worth recalling that ARRA ultimately spread $831 billion across the nation. And as the word “reinvestment” in the bill’s title suggests, the Obama administration’s spin was that the government would be wisely investing; that is, it would be playing venture capitalist, seeking out the projects that would create good jobs at good wages—and be green, too!
As Obama said at the time, “Decisions about how Recovery Act dollars are spent will be based on the merits. Let me repeat that: decisions about how recovery money will be spent will be based on the merits. They will not be made as a way of doing favors for lobbyists.” In other words, Obama was aware of the danger of lobbyist-friendly cronyism.
So this might be a good time to recall the identity of the person Obama put on point to prevent such lobbyist-friendly cronyism. That guardian of the public purse was … Joe Biden.
Discussing ARRA on March 3, 2009, Obama spoke of the:
… need to ensure that tax dollars aren’t wasted on projects that don’t deliver results. And that’s why, as part of his duty, Joe will keep an eye on how precious tax dollars are being spent. To you, he’s Mr. Vice President, but around the White House we call him “the sheriff,” because if you’re misusing taxpayer dollars, you’ll have to answer to him.
Thus was born the meme, “Sheriff Joe.” The Main Stream Media, of course, played it up without any sense of irony; typical was this headline from ABC News on June 22, 2009: “Nobody Messes with ‘Sheriff Joe’ Biden.”
Yet others looked at the evidence—digging deeper than just Fisker and Solyndra, swampy as they were—and took a dimmer view of Biden’s policing.
We can recall, for instance, the work of Peter Schweizer, whom we took note of earlier; he heads up the swamp-excavating Government Accountability Institute, even as he contributes frequently to Breitbart News.
A decade ago, in his 2011 book, Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison, Schweizer studied the workings of ARRA, as well as of Sheriff Joe—and many other subjects.
Schweizer found, for example, that loan programs operated by the U.S. Department of Energy seemed to have distinctly “swampy”—the Washington Post might call it “foggy,” but it’s the same thing—characteristics. That is, overrun by lobbyists and the like. As Schweizer put it:
A large proportion of the winners were companies with Obama-campaign connections. Indeed, at least 10 members of Obama’s finance committee and more than a dozen of his campaign bundlers were big winners in getting your money. At the same time, several politicians who supported Obama managed to strike gold by launching alternative-energy companies and obtaining grants.
In particular, Schweizer crunched the numbers on the Energy Department’s “1705” loan program and found that:
… $16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in loans granted … went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers—individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s national Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.
In other words, 80 percent of the loans went to Obama insiders. As Schweizer wrote of those cronies, “Their political largesse is probably the best investment they ever made in alternative energy. It brought them returns many times over.”
So where was Sheriff Joe? What patrol was he on?
Now today, we are looking at the real possibility that Joe Biden, as the 46th president, could be overseeing spending programs that are exponentially larger than they were when he was sheriff vice president, including in the Fisker/Solyndra-esque sector of “green energy.”
Biden has said that he rejects the AOC-ish Green New Deal as too expensive, and yet even his “smaller” program is still huge: According to his campaign website, he pledges to spend, or direct, a total of $6.7 trillion.
If this “Biden New Deal” does come into existence, it’s a safe bet that the same well-connected insiders who had their palms up during the Obama-Biden administration will have their palms up once again. In response, Peter Schweizer, joined by other watchdogs, will be on the case.
Yet in the meantime, still, the rest of us can get a pretty good sense of how and where that federal money-gusher will flow.
Even if Hunter Biden isn’t involved.