House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) is investigating the financial connection between the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Biden Center, with a focus on whether foreign money was funneled into the center.
Despite the center’s denial of accepting contributions or gifts, the timing of its establishment and increased foreign investment in the university have raised suspicions, particularly as members of President Biden’s family were reportedly seeking business opportunities in China.
The letter, co-signed by Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC), requests information on the legal relationship between the university and the center, as well as the portion of the center’s annual expenses provided by the university. The letter also seeks details on the university’s investments in three “adversarial entities” on U.S. government restricted lists.
The University of Pennsylvania previously acknowledged having investments in entities on restricted lists. The letter now asks the university to disclose those entities and any investments in six Chinese entities added to restricted lists following a recent incident involving a Chinese spy balloon.
During his two years at the Penn Biden Center before his presidential campaign, Joe Biden received approximately $900,000. The ongoing investigation may reveal whether foreign nations were financially supporting Biden during this time.
The Penn Biden Center faced criticism when classified documents from Biden’s vice presidency were found in a locked closet at the center. Though discovered in November, this information was not disclosed until January.
The GOP letter also questions the university’s apparent lack of effort to divest from questionable holdings. Republicans expect a response from university officials by March 28, including information on divestment efforts and clarification on the relationship between the center and the university.