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Hunter Biden Used Secretive PR Firms To Put Spin On Wikipedia Pages, Emails Show

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James Lynch Investigative Reporter
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Hunter Biden worked with public relations firms to quietly edit his personal Wikipedia entry and Ukrainian energy firm Burisma’s Wikipedia entry to make them appear more favorable, according to emails from Hunter’s laptop archive.

Biden and his business partners worked with multiple digitally focused public relations firms to change details in his Wikipedia page pertaining to his work for Burisma and his previous experience, while emphasizing his charitable work with the World Food Programme, to counter alleged falsehoods being spread online about Biden and Burisma, according to email exchanges on his laptop beginning in spring 2014.

Hunter Biden and his business associates brought in FTI Consulting to assist Burisma with its public relations strategy beginning in May 2014, after Biden was appointed to the firm’s board where he made $80,000 per month, emails from his laptop archive show. (RELATED: IRS Whistleblower Gary Shapley’s Attorneys Debunk False Claims From Hunter Biden’s Lawyer)

Burisma executive Vadim Pozharskyi emailed Hunter Biden, Burisma board member Devon Archer, FTI consultant Ryan Toohey and additional business associates on May 21, 2014, outlining the firm’s PR strategy following a meeting with FTI.

“I would like to provide you with the following points that should be discussed and which I kindly ask to incorporate in our 1st month PR agenda that was outlined in the memo,” Pozharskyi wrote.

One of the following points was Burisma’s Wikipedia strategy, and his email included an attachment with further details about the Wikipedia PR plan.

“Thank you for your feedback on the wikipedia issue. We found it thoroughly researched and clearly stated. We’ve also done some digging in terms of wikipedia entries and came up with some additional wikipedia pages analysis (see attached),” Pozharskyi said.

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 22: Hunter Biden attends Usher's New Look Foundation - World Leadership Conference & Awards 2011 - Day 3 at Cobb Energy Center on July 22, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Usher's New Look Foundation)

ATLANTA, GA – JULY 22: Hunter Biden attends Usher’s New Look Foundation – World Leadership Conference & Awards 2011 – Day 3 at Cobb Energy Center on July 22, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Usher’s New Look Foundation)

At the same time, Hunter Biden was working with business associate Eric Schwerin, president of Biden’s investment firm Rosemont Seneca Partners, to improve his personal image, according to emails first reported by independent journalist Lee Fang.

“Ryan- below is a start.  Eric is my partner and cc’d- he’s going to make additional edits. Also this doesn’t include anything I’ve done professionally in the past seven years including being of counsel to Boies Schiller or Chairman of Rosemont Seneca Partners,” Hunter Biden emailed Schwerin and Toohey on May 22, 2014, with edits to his Wikipedia entry.

Biden appeared to instruct Toohey to edit the portion of his Wikipedia page linking him to Allen Stanford, who was convicted in June 2012 for orchestrating a 20-year, $7-billion Ponzi scheme.

Schwerin sent Toohey additional edits for Biden’s Wikipedia page and a full list of his current and former board seats later May 22. Five days later, Schwerin sent Toohey more edits for Biden’s Wikipedia entry and suggested Biden’s World Food Program USA board membership be placed higher on Biden’s page, emails show.

Toohey sent Schwerin and Biden a link with Biden’s updated Wikipedia entry May 29, 2014, and Schwerin approved it. (RELATED: Joe Biden’s Office Devised Talking Points About Burisma Executive Right After Hunter Biden ‘Called DC,’ Emails Show)

“This looks great, Ryan. Thanks for the help,” Schwerin said.

An account named “AmeliaChevalier” edited Biden’s Wikipedia page the day before to remove his links to Stanford, Fang reported. Fang also identified anonymous accounts that rapidly edited Biden’s Wikipedia page in the next few weeks, with one anonymous user deleting criticism of Biden’s work for Burisma.

Biden’s affiliation with Stanford was removed from his Wikipedia page and his World Food Program affiliation was emphasized in the section with his board memberships, archives from June 12, 2014, show. Biden’s entry also removed a portion of his affiliation with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a project of the National Endowment of Democracy (NED), because it included NED’s links to the CIA.

Additionally, Biden’s June 2014 entry contains a section on his “personal philosophy that is rooted in service to others,” with a comment Hunter Biden made about his father, then-Democratic Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, in 2007.

Toohey sent Pozharskyi, Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and other business associates an email June 18 with a document showing further edits to Hunter Biden’s Wikipedia page. (RELATED: Top Hunter Biden Lawyer Christopher J. Clark Moves To Withdraw From Case After Plea Deal Collapses)

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: Devon Archer (C), Hunter Biden’s former business partner, leaves the O'Neill House Office Building after testifying to the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill on July 31, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 31: Devon Archer (C), Hunter Biden’s former business partner, leaves the O’Neill House Office Building after testifying to the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill on July 31, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Please see attached a document that shows a recent edit made to Hunter’s wikipedia page,” Toohey said. “A German-based user deleted the entire section on Burisma. There was no editorializing, just editing to cut that piece. We are going to edit it back to include that piece but limit the positive references to Burisma’s reserves and production and just state the facts of the appointment.”

Biden scheduled a social media training session June 23, 2014, with PR firm Sunshine Sachs to expand Biden’s “digital footprint” and improve his image online. One recommendation sent by Sunshine Sachs was a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Wikipedia audit, emails show. Biden and his team did not communicate with Sunshine again until September 2014, when Sunshine asked if there was still interest in working together.

Both parties attempted to set up a phone call and a training session in New York City; however, it’s unclear whether either event took place. Biden’s assistant had a plan to “revisit” Sunshine’s training on his to-do list in April 2015, but the firm was not mentioned again afterwards.

“Search engine optimization is a fancy way of saying…what people find when they type your name into Google,” a Sunshine representative emailed Biden on June 19, 2014. “There are many technical ways to better your online footprint using search. We can update and edit your Wikipedia page (requires coding). We can also work with your PR representatives to make sure your earned media is optimized appropriately.”

Hunter Biden arrives for a toast during an official State Dinner in honor of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 22, 2023. (Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Hunter Biden arrives for a toast during an official State Dinner in honor of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 22, 2023. (Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

In November 2014, Hunter Biden began working with representatives from Reputation.com to manage his digital presence and Burisma’s online footprint, according to emails from Hunter’s laptop archive. One of the preliminary questions Reputation.com sent to Hunter Biden addressed his Wikipedia entry and what the representatives thought readers should take away from it.

“If there was one thing that you would want a reader to take away after viewing your Wikipedia article, what would it be?” an email from a Reputation.com representative reads. Schwerin sent the representative answers to her questions and she updated her proposal for Hunter Biden’s Wikipedia entry during contract negotiations, the emails show.

Wikipedia appears to have been the primary reason for Biden’s engagement with Reputation.com, according to emails exchanged shortly after the contract was signed.

“Talked to [Reputation.com]. She’s fine with focusing on Wikipedia first and delaying the ‘ORM’ Consulting,” Schwerin wrote to Biden in December 2014. “Just for Wikipedia.  It would be a six month engagement.”

“I think it’s important personally but even more so for the business- lets [sic] do it if we can swing it,” Biden replied.

In January 2015, Schwerin emailed Reputation.com a document with updates to Biden’s Wikipedia page. The next month, Schwerin sent another document with updates to the World Food Programme section of Biden’s Wikipedia entry.

Hunter Biden recommended Reputation.com to the program director of an opioid rehabilitation center looking to counter negative reviews. (RELATED: Burisma Was Told To Remove Picture Of Joe Biden From Its Website, Emails Show)

“Later a friend recommended Reputation.com as a possible way to begin to counter some of the crazier claims being made on social media and Wikipedia. I think it’s worth a call to them to discuss your options,” Biden said in March 2015.

“My options are limited because as a member of a highly public family obscuring these types of attacks can actually be counterproductive, but for you I think they actually have real tools that can make a difference in the immediate. Call to discuss next week if you have the time,” he added.

Biden and Schwerin communicated with Reputation.com’s new representative in March 2015 to finalize the edits to Biden’s Wikipedia page and create a draft for Burisma’s Wikipedia page, the email archives show.

“The draft for Burisma Holdings will go up on a separate page that we’ll create – this is a strategic decision to split out the details on the firm from Hunter’s page rather than devoting a larger section of his page to it (which may look too promotional),” Reputation.com representative Jonathon Lee said March 10, 2015.

“This seems worse than the one that exists- am I missing something?” Biden emailed Schwerin.

“Just FYI, I talked to Jonathan today. Gave him our feedback and he’s going make changes. He agreed with our suggestions,” Schwerin said.

Schwerin informed Biden in May 2015 that his Wikipedia entry was updated. Both appeared to be happy with Reputation.com’s changes, emails show.

“Jonathon says that the wikipedia edits are complete and seem to have withstood any complaints from the wikipedia community for now. If you want to take a look at it I think it is really good,” Schwerin emailed Biden on May 21, 2015.

“Actually looks good – hope it holds,” Biden responded.

Archived Wikipedia entries from April and May 2015 show substantial revisions to the Burisma section of Biden’s Wikipedia page and a new section dedicated to Biden’s work for the World Food Programme. Criticism of Biden’s work for Burisma and details about Burisma were deleted from Biden’s Wikipedia page.

The next month, Schwerin proposed putting more information on Biden’s Wikipedia page about his relationships with his deceased brother, Beau Biden, and his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - JANUARY 20: Vice-President Joe Biden and sons Hunter Biden (L) and Beau Biden walk in the Inaugural Parade January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – JANUARY 20: Vice-President Joe Biden and sons Hunter Biden (L) and Beau Biden walk in the Inaugural Parade January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. (David McNew/Getty Images)

Hunter Biden and Schwerin began working with German digital PR executive Jan Gartzke in November 2015 to bolster Biden’s personal Wikipedia entry and Burisma’s page, emails show.

Schwerin sent Biden and Archer a proposal for Burisma’s Wikipedia page in early December 2015, and afterwards sent it to Pozharskyi and lobbying firm Blue Star Strategies. The lobbyists from Blue Star supported Schwerin’s proposal and mentioned their own work with Reputation.com on digital branding.

“In 2017, Reputation Defender, the B2C portion of the Reputation business was sold. The business today—Reputation—is solely a B2B business, not a consumer-facing business. As for Jonathan Lee, he left the company in 2016,” Reputation.com told the Daily Caller in a statement. Reputation Defender did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Blue Star began working with Burisma in November 2015 and arranged two meetings with State Department officials in spring 2016 on Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky’s behalf, the firm disclosed in a May 2022 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) form. The firm also worked with the Ukrainian prosecutor who let off Burisma and arranged at least one meeting with Burisma and the prosecutor, a 2020 senate report found. (RELATED: Burisma Lobbyists Recommended By Hunter Biden Didn’t Disclose Over $400,000 In Payments, Testimony Shows)

“Hunter, Devon and I have each had a couple of separate discussion with Jan Gartzke, runs a firm that focuses solely on monitoring and maintaining wikipedia sites.  He is very good and is the brother of someone we all respect,” Schwerin told Pozharskyi on Dec. 8, 2015.

“Attached is his proposal to Burisma to provide assistance with Burisma’s wikipedia article.  Given that wikipedia (at least in the U.S.) is one of the first places people go for information on a company it would be good to make sure Burisma’s article is accurate and not subject to the company’s competitors editing it with false information,” he added.

Schwerin and Biden arranged a meeting with Gartzke in Washington, D.C., in February 2016, when he was in the city for business. It’s unclear if Schwerin and Biden communicated with Gartzke after their in-person meeting.

Wikipedia maintains a “Biden-Ukraine conspiracy theory” entry on its website claiming Joe Biden’s work to remove Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin reflects a series of “false allegations” to “damage Joe Biden’s reputation” during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer told Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson that Shokin was a “threat” to Burisma’s business and recalled a raid on Zlochevsky’s property right before Shokin was pressured to resign.

“You remember last year I was authorized to say we’d do the second tranche of a billion dollars. And he didn’t fire his chief prosecutor. And because I have the confidence of the president, I was there, and I said: I’m not signing it. Until you fire him, we’re not signing, man. Get it straight. We’re not doing it,” then-VP Joe Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations in September 2016 with regards to Shokin’s dismissal.

Archer testified to the House Oversight Committee in July and discussed how the Biden family “brand” protected Burisma from legal scrutiny and allowed the firm to stay in business. Archer said Joe Biden spoke with his son’s foreign business partners over 20 times and specifically recalled Joe Biden’s presence at a dinner with Russian oligarch Elena Baturina in spring 2014 and a dinner with Pozharskyi in spring 2015.

Wikipedia and FTI did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.