President Joe Biden plans to nominate University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann as the U.S. ambassador to Germany, the White House announced, after the university paid him more than $911,000 after he left the White House as vice president.
Biden’s financial disclosures revealed in 2019 that he was appointed by the university to serve as the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor — the first person to hold the position.
Biden received $371,159 from the university in 2017 as well as $540,484 in 2018 and early 2019. He stepped down from the position in 2019 ahead of his announcement to run for president.
Biden appeared for university events and public appearances but did not host regular classes for the university, according to the student newspaper. He also appeared with Gutmann for several question-and-answer events.
Biden told world leaders in February that his former position at the University of Pennsylvania made him a professor.
“Two years ago, as you pointed out when I last spoke in Munich, I was a private citizen. I was a professor, not an elected official,” he said, referring to his paid position at the university.
The University of Pennsylvania also helped develop “The Biden Center” in Washington, DC, which employed many of Biden’s staff after he left the vice presidency. Biden’s current senior advisor Steve Ricchetti was once the managing director of the Biden Center as well as Biden’s current Secretary of State Tony Blinken.
Under Gutmann, the University of Pennsylvania has enjoyed substantial donations from China.
Since announcing the creation of the Biden Center, the University of Pennsylvania received a substantial increase of donations from China, prompting the House Oversight Committee to investigate.
The January 27 letter to Gutman read:
In the 37 months of available reporting prior to the announcement of the Biden Center, the University received about $21,187,333 from China. In contrast, in the 39 months of available reporting since the announcement of the Biden Center, the University received $72,274,675 from China—an increase of $51,087,342 in a similar time frame.
The National Legal and Policy Center filed a complaint with the Department of Education citing the university’s failure to disclose their donations from China.
The NLPC announcement read:
Since 2017 alone, when the Biden Center opened and after Joe Biden announced he was running for President in April 2018, the university received over $70 million from China, of which $22 million were listed as “Anonymous.” Federal law requires the disclosure of the source of all donations over $250,000.
The NLPC complaint also noted that the Biden Center co-sponsored the 2020 Penn China Research Symposium in New York on January 31, 2020. The event hosted Ambassador Huang Ping, Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China for opening remarks about the relationship between China and the United States.
“I just met President Gutmann and was very impressed by UPenn’s growing relationship with China,” he said.