Hunter Biden Demanded Confidentiality During SEC Fraud Probe, Saying It Would Be ‘Unfair’ To Damage His Father Politically

The document was obtained as part of the House Oversight Committee’s impeachment inquiry.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Hunter Biden and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, arrive at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on June 10, 2024, at Wilmington, Delaware. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Hunter Biden’s attorneys tried to invoke President Biden’s name in order to keep a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation out of the public eye, according to documents released by the House Oversight Committee. 

The first son was being investigated in 2016 as part of a federal inquiry into the alleged defrauding of a Native American tribe by two of Biden’s business associates, Jason Galanis and Devon Archer — both of whom have been convicted of the fraud scheme and sentenced to prison. 

Biden’s attorney, whose name is redacted in the document, asked that the SEC treat the investigation with the “highest degree of confidentiality” because it would be “unfair” to the then-vice president to receive negative press coverage. 

While Biden would elude criminal charges in the SEC probe, he was charged with multiple felonies for lying about his drug use to buy a gun and failure to pay taxes on money he made trading on the Biden name overseas. He was found guilty on the gun charges, is now awaiting sentencing; he will go on trial on the tax charges in September. 

Regarding the SEC probe, “As a threshold matter, we request that you treat this matter with the highest degree of confidentiality, consistent with Commission policy and applicable law,” Biden’s attorneys wrote to the New York regional office of the SEC in April 2016. 

“The confidential nature of this investigation is very important to our client and it would be unfair, not just to our client, but also to his father, the Vice President of the United States, if his involvement in an SEC investigation and parallel criminal probe were to become the subject of any media attention,” the attorneys wrote at the time. 

Biden’s lawyers asked that the SEC keep the documents secret even if Freedom of Information Act requests were filed, in order to save face for the then-vice president. “In accordance [with] … the Freedom of Information Act we hereby request confidential treatment of such material to the extent allowed by law,” they wrote. “We further request that these materials be kept in a non-public file and that access to it by any third party inconsistent with the SEC’s routine uses be denied.”

The chairmen of the Oversight and Judiciary committees, Congressmen James Comer and Jim Jordan, are asking the SEC for answers about the agency’s alleged special treatment of Biden because of his father’s job title. 

“Mr. Biden’s response gratuitously invoked his father’s position as the Vice President in what could be interpreted as an effort to discourage further SEC scrutiny. And on May 11, 2016, the SEC published a press release — announcing the charging of seven individuals — with no mention or charging of Hunter Biden,” Mr. Comer said in a statement. 

Galanis is serving a 15-year prison sentence at the Federal Prison Camp, Montgomery, in Alabama, where House investigators visited him in February to question him about Biden. Archer, whose conviction was thrown out and later reinstated, was sentenced to a year and a day of incarceration and was recently ordered to report to prison.

Messrs. Comer and Jordan sent a letter to the SEC chairman, Gary Gensler, demanding answers about the SEC incident. They say that they are entitled to all communications between Biden’s attorneys and the Obama-Biden White House, all records about the SEC’s response to Biden’s request for confidentiality, and any internal deliberations within the SEC about Biden invoking his father as a reason for needing confidentiality. 

Biden was a key source of information in the probe into the Native American fraud scheme, according to House Republicans. He turned over nearly 1,800 documents, including internal communications at Rosemont Seneca Bohai — the first son’s lobbying shell company set up with Archer and Archer’s friend from Yale, Chris Heinz, the ketchup heir who is Secretary Kerry’s stepson. Republicans say Rosemont, now defunct, was a key prop of Biden’s “influence peddling scheme.”

Rosemont, which Mr. Heinz extricated himself from amid scrutiny of Biden’s business affairs, did not list Biden as a director or as an officer of the corporation, which may have allowed him to avoid an indictment.  

Both Archer and Galanis proved to be key witnesses for Messrs. Comer and Jordan’s impeachment inquiry over the past year. Archer first gave a transcribed interview for the impeachment committee in 2023, telling House members that the “Biden brand” was the sole add-on of including Biden in their business dealings. Galanis, from his Alabama prison camp, told members of the panel that Biden, other partners, and he were involved in “illegal self-dealing,” and that Biden set him up as the fall guy for the Native American fraud scheme. 

Archer has not gone so far as to accuse Biden of crimes, but told Tucker Carlson that his friendship with the first son was his personal, financial, and professional undoing.


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