A second university has been found to have received more than $6.7 million in anonymous donations from China, including direct funding from the Chinese government, after Joe Biden set up a program there in his name, according to a Government Accountability Institute analysis. The revelation comes following reporting that anonymous China-linked funds flowing to the University of Pennsylvania almost tripled after the inauguration of the Penn-Biden Center, which illegally housed classified documents.
On March 13, 2017, less than seven weeks after concluding his second term as vice president, Joe Biden announced the founding of the Biden Institute at his home state’s University of Delaware (UD). According to the announcement, part of Biden’s “vision for the institute is an annual conference at UD, similar to the World Economic Forum or the Aspen Institute.”
At the time of Biden’s announcement at UD, multiple members of the Biden family were working on deals worth millions of dollars with foreign businessmen linked to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence. And Biden’s other university program at the University of Pennsylvania was apparently housing classified documents from the Obama-Biden administration in an improper way.
Prior to hosting the Biden Institute, UD had never disclosed any funding from China. One year later (and just two months after the Penn Biden center opened its D.C. office), anonymous donations from China to UD skyrocketed. The first payment came in April 2018 in the amount of $3,204,070 from an anonymous donor in China. In December 2018, another anonymous donation from China arrived for $1,869,515. A third anonymous China-linked payment, for $624,904, arrived in December 2019.
In 2020, the year that Biden was campaigning for president, anonymous Chinese state-linked entities sent three more payments totaling $1,005,761 to UD, the bulk of which arrived after Biden had been declared the president-elect.
Three of these donations from China—with a combined total of $1,005,761—were reported as coming from a “Foreign Government Source,” according to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) records assembled from information reported to the DOE by the University of Delaware.
It should be noted that, according to the available records, none the donations from China to the University of Pennsylvania following the creation of the Penn Biden Center appear to have been reported to the DOE as coming from a “Foreign Government Source” — a fact which led at least one fact-checker to conclude that the Penn Biden Center was being unfairly labeled as “China-funded” because the influx of funding from China to UPenn following its establishment was not given this DOE identifier. However, three donations originating from China to the University of Delaware in the years following the launch of the Biden Institute clearly bear the “Foreign Government Source” identifier.
The actual DOE record field for this identifier asks, “Is this funding from a government?” For these three donations, the answer supplied by the University of Delaware is “Yes,” as seen in the three images below taken from the DOE website (highlight added for emphasis).
Neither the Biden Institute nor the UD have responded to requests to identify the Chinese donors or explain why the Chinese government decided to fund UD after the Biden Institute was created.
Perhaps the most mysterious aspect of the Biden Institute is how it was conceived.
The initial idea for Biden Institute at UD was apparently hatched by Joe’s son, Hunter Biden, while the elder Biden was still the vice president.
In March 2016, Hunter Biden met with UD’s incoming president, Dr. Dennis Assanis, as Hunter and his business associates were making plans to create a “stage” to promote the “Biden brand,” emails from Hunter’s abandoned laptop show. Other emails on the laptop indicate that Hunter and his business associates were concerned about boosting Joe’s “future earnings potential,” while Joe was still the vice president.
One month after meeting with the incoming UD president, Hunter discussed plans for both the Biden Institute at UD and the Biden Center at UPenn with a talent agent named Craig Gering, his laptop correspondence shows. Gering’s “confidential notes” reveal plans for Hunter Biden to serve in some capacity at the Penn Biden Center, where classified documents were recently found to be stored illegally.
Gering noted that the Biden academic ventures could operate like the “Clinton Global Initiative without the money raise.” The Clinton Global Initiative, GAI previously reported, served as a way to enrich the Clinton family foundation by brokering access to Hillary Clinton’s State Department. The Clintons had to raise their own funds for their initiative, prompting the question of how the Biden programs would work “without the money raise.” Chinese government funding could be at least part of the answer.
Gering’s closing thoughts regarding the Biden academic ventures indicate they would be primarily about “wealth creation” for the Biden family. These ventures began as the Biden family was personally collecting large amounts of money — ultimately some $31 million — from deals linked to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence and as Hunter was paying for his father’s bills — a potential crime while Joe Biden served as vice president of the United States.
Multiple members of the Biden family also appear to have been involved in the planning of the Biden Institute.
UD has long held troves of Biden’s Senate records — more than 1,800 boxes — and has stymied public requests to view these records. In June 2022, a judge rebuked UD for its lack of transparency. It is unknown what documents, classified or otherwise, the Biden Institute at UD may have been housing from Biden’s vice presidency.
After the Penn Biden Center’s funding from China almost tripled, the university sent an open letter to the Justice Department calling for an end to investigations into Chinese espionage within American universities (UPenn alleged due to concerns over “racial profiling”). The Biden Justice Department acquiesced.
But there is reason to believe that Chinese espionage at universities warrants more investigation, not less, particularly at UD.
In February 2022, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), sent a letter to UD President Dennis Assanis urging UD to terminate its academic and research partnership with China’s Xiamen University. Xiamen University actively supports Beijing’s military-industrial complex and allegedly conspired with Huawei to steal trade secrets from an American semiconductor startup. UD appears to still be working closely with Xiamen University and its personnel.
The Justice Department, the FBI, and a special counsel are under mounting pressure to scour Biden’s records at the University of Delaware for additional classified materials. Last month, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dodged when asked if President Biden had any objection to a search of his records at the UD.
Whether the White House objects or not, investigators might also examine the secret China money flowing to both the UD Biden Institute and the Penn Biden Center.
Seamus Bruner and Jedd McFatter are the Directors of Research at the Government Accountability Institute. Bruner is the author of Compromised: How Money & Politics Drive FBI Corruption and Fallout: Nuclear Bribes, Russia Spies, and D.C. Lies. Follow @seamusbruner.