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GOP lawmakers demand UPenn Biden Center release foreign donation records

Benjamin Zeisloft, Campus Reform

  • Three House Republicans sent a letter to the University of Pennsylvania, asking that they reveal the source of anonymous foreign donations from China.
  • The lawmakers referenced concern over links between China and President Joe Biden.

Several House Republicans sent a letter to the University of Pennsylvania, urging the Ivy League school to reveal the source of anonymous foreign donations from Chinese sources.

As Campus Reform previously reported, the Ivy League school has been the subject of criticism for refusing to disclose the source of more than $22 million in anonymous donations from China. According to the National Legal and Policy Center — a nonprofit watchdog group — federal law “requires the disclosure of the source of all donations over $250,000.”

Antony Blinken — President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State — was working at the university’s Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement during the same period that Penn accepted the anonymous funds.

The Jan. 28 letter — sent by Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Va.) — asked for a response to their August 3 communication, which likewise asked for the release of foreign donation sources.

Citing the federal investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and his extensive business ties in China, the Republican lawmakers wrote that “these facts raise serious questions regarding conflicts of interest and the integrity of the Biden family’s ties to China.”

The lawmakers also noted that in the period before the Biden Center’s establishment, the university received $21,187,333 from China. After the founding of the Biden Center, the university received $72,274,675 from China — a 241 percent increase in donations over a roughly equivalent period.

Referring to the Chinese Communist Party’s “efforts to use its strategic investments to turn American college campuses into indoctrination platforms for American students,” the representatives asked University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann to provide all records of gifts and contracts from private or public sources in China.

The letter also requested all information, documents, and communications involving several former Penn affiliates, including President Joe Biden, Antony Blinken, and Ezekiel Emanuel, who serves on the Biden administration’s COVID-19 response team.

A spokesperson for the Education and Labor Committee Republicans told Campus Reform that the representatives have not yet received a response from the university.

The spokesperson explained that formal punishment from Congress would necessitate subpoena power, which would require support from Democrats on the committee.

Campus Reform asked University of Pennsylvania spokesman Stephen MacCarthy whether the school plans to release relevant information to Congress. MacCarthy explained that the Biden Center specifically has never received donations from Chinese sources, but failed to answer the original question. MacCarthy previously told Campus Reform, “the University is in compliance with federal foreign gift disclosure requirements. As to their allegations regarding the connection of gifts to the Penn Biden Center, that is completely untrue.  In fact, it is total nonsense. We have never solicited any gifts for the Penn Biden Center. Since its inception in 2017, there have been three unsolicited gifts (from two donors) which combined total $1,100. Neither of the donors were from China.”

Campus Reform reached out to the lawmakers for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft

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