Emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop show President Biden’s White House chief of staff Ron Klain reached out to Hunter back in September 2012 for help in raising $20,000 for the Vice President’s Residence Foundation (VPRF), telling him to “keep this low low key” to prevent “bad PR.”
The Vice President’s Residence Foundation is a nonprofit entity used to assist in decorating and furnishing the vice president’s official residence located on U.S. Naval Observatory grounds.
The conversation occurred via email and Klain, who had left his chief of staff position in then-Vice President Biden’s office a year earlier was still the foundation’s chairman at the time.
Klain asked Hunter for his help in tackling “a piece of unpleasant business.”
“The tax lawyers for the VP Residence Foundation have concluded that since the Cheney folks last raised money in 2007 and not 2008, we actually have to have some incoming funds before the end of this fiscal year (i.e., before 9/30/12 – next week) to remain eligible to be a ‘public charity,'” Klain said in an email to Hunter.
“It’s not much – we need to raise a total of $20,000 – so I’m hitting up a few very close friends on a very confidential basis to write checks of $2,000 each,” Klain continued.
“We need to keep this low low key, because raising money for the Residence now is bad PR – but it has to be done, so I’m trying to just collect the 10 checks of $2,000, get it done in a week, and then, we can do an event for the Residence Foundation after the election.”
Hunter then forwarded the email a few hours later to his longtime business partner, Eric Schwerin, who helped manage a majority of Hunter’s finances. Schwerin responded by telling him that they could “discuss this and some other bills on Monday” and asked whether Hunter thought “they would take a corporate check from Owasco,” referring to Hunter’s law firm, Owasco PC.
It is unclear whether Hunter ended up using Owasco to donate to his father’s housing foundation or whether he assisted Klain in soliciting donations from his business associates in China and Ukraine. However, a 990 tax form from fiscal year 2012 shows that the foundation received $20,500 in contributions that year.
At the time of Klain’s correspondence with Hunter, he was president of Case Holdings, which, according to a press release, is the holding company for “the wide-ranging for-profit and philanthropic interests of AOL co-founder Steve Case and his wife Jean,” and includes investments in Hawaii, the Case Foundation, and Revolution LLC, the venture capital firm where Klain also worked. He was also on the board of directors for Center For American Progress Action Fund.
Hunter Biden is currently under federal investigation for potential violations of tax, money laundering and foreign lobbying laws through his past business relationships abroad, but Klain came to his defense recently, telling ABC News that President Biden is “confident that his son didn’t break the law.”