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Joe Biden And Senate Dems Called For Special Counsel In Case Mirroring Hunter Biden Scandal

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst -/File Photo

Anders Hagstrom Video Columnist

Then-Senator Joe Biden joined 35 of his colleagues in calling for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the corrupt dealings of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff in 2006, a case that mirrors the alleged conflicts of interest in Hunter Biden’s dealings with China and Ukraine.

Abramoff was convicted of bribery and fraud in 2006 and spent nearly four years in prison. Biden joined 35 other Democratic Senators including then-Senator Barack Obama in sending a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales requesting he open a special counsel investigation into the case. The 2006 letter claimed Abramoff had abused his close relationship with the White House to sell influence to clients. The accusation mirrors those leveled by critics against Hunter Biden, who received $50,000 a month from a Ukrainian oil company and traveled on official diplomacy trips to China with his father when he was vice president.

“Because this investigation is vital to restoring the public’s faith in its government, any appearance of bias, special favor or political consideration would be a further blow to our democracy,” Biden’s letter read. “Appointment of a special counsel would ensure that the investigation and prosecution will proceed without fear or favor and provide the public with full confidence that no one in this country is above the law.” The letter continued:

Mr. Abramoff’s significant ties to Republican leadership in Congress, and allegations of improper activity involving Administration officials, reaching, possibly, into the White House itself, pose a possible conflict of interest for the Department and thus further warrant the appointment of a special counsel. Recent news reports confirm that Mr. Abramoff met the President on several occasions and during some of those meetings, Mr. Abramoff and his family had their photos taken with the President.  Mr. Abramoff also organized at least one and possibly several meetings with White House staff for his clients.  These meetings with the President and White House staff occurred while you were serving as White House Counsel. Given the possible ties between Mr. Abramoff and senior government officials, we believe the appointment of a special counsel is not only justified, but necessary.

Abramoff’s scandal was the product of a general suspicion that lobbyists and influence-peddlers in D.C. were using their positions to trade favors. Abramoff was a major example on the political right, but the left has received its fair share of scrutiny as well, such as the Clinton Foundation, which lost roughly 88 percent of its over $200 million annual donorship when Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election.

Former US lobbyist Jack Abramoff is pictured in Washington, DC  (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages)

Another more recent example is Hunter, who Republicans say had major conflicts of interest in business positions he held while his father was vice president. Taking center stage is his acceptance of a board position at the Ukranian gas company Burisma despite having no relevant experience. While there is no evidence of illegality on either Joe or Hunter’s side as of yet, Hunter was receiving tens of thousands of dollars a month from a company that was under an investigation that Joe was in a position to impact. (RELATED: Ukranian Businessman Says Gas Company Hired Hunter Biden For Protection)

Bank records also show that Hunter received $700,000 between June 2014 and October 2015 from a company called Rosemont Seneca Bohai, which obtained a 20% equity stake in Bohai Harvest RST, the Chinese private equity firm that Hunter has been a board member of since its founding in 2013, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported. (RELATED: Jack Abramoff Describes Life For Michael Cohen In Minimum Security Prison)

Hunter first became a board member in Chinese firm in 2013 when he traveled to China with his father on an official vice presidential visit. The firm was seeking a business license in the country at the time, and Hunter has confirmed meeting with his business partner Jonathan Li, a Chinese banker, during the trip. Within 10 days of returning from the trip, Hunter’s firm obtained its license.

Both Hunter and Joe Biden have denied any wrongdoing, but Hunter has vowed to resign his post at Bohai Harvest by the end of October.

Biden’s presidential campaign has not responded to request for comment from the Daily Caller.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden waves as he walks out of Air Force Two with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden and son Hunter Biden (R) on Dec. 4, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Ng Han Guan-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden waves as he walks out of Air Force Two with his granddaughter Finnegan Biden and son Hunter Biden (R) on Dec. 4, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Ng Han Guan-Pool/Getty Images)

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham’s office told The Daily Caller that, “Graham has been clear he wants to see an investigation.”

“I think this is a defining moment in the Biden campaign. Joe Biden is truly a friend. … I think he’s a good man. But what Hunter Biden did was wrong at every level,” Graham said on Fox News. “I think what Hunter Biden did does not pass the smell test.”

Graham and Biden both switch sides of the debate when transitioning from scrutiny of Republican Abramoff to Democratic Hunter, however. As has been shown, Biden was extremely aggressive against Abramoff, but Graham did not put out any press releases on the issue at the time.