Hunter Biden’s businesses in Ukraine and China have received a lot of media attention. According to documents regarding his business dealings, Hunter landed a contract in Ukraine that paid him ton of money just to sit on the director board of a gas firm that was investigated for corruption. He was also employed in China to set up a range of operations.
Officials from the United States have raised doubts about the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPA), fearing that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses its affiliated propaganda agency to assert more power on the West.
According to a 2018 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, CPA performs intelligence and propaganda roles for the CCP. This association was attempting to “malignly manipulate” local officials, according to then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The State Legislative Leaders Foundation has collaborated with the CPA since 2015. Hunter Biden’s first business trip to China was facilitated by its foundation advisor back in 2010.
Nearly 70 large corporations and business organizations, including Facebook, Google, Comcast, and Apple, have contributed to the State Legislative Leaders Foundation which was established in 1972. The foundation made its first foray into China in 2009 at a summit organized by two businessmen Michael Lin and James Bulger. Later, Michael Lin and James Bulger joined Hunter Biden at a private equity firm that brokered an agreement to sell a U.S. car parts manufacturer to a Chinese aviation firm.
In both the United States and China, the foundation has established comprehensive connections. Its president, Stephen Lakis, gave a keynote speech at a conference for some of the leading think tanks. The China Public Diplomacy Association, another CCP-linked front organization with CPA’s representatives on its staff, hosted the summit. The event included speakers from the Chinese government, state-controlled media, and Beijing’s key foreign-language propaganda department.
A panelist at the forum included California Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg, who is also a member of the foundation. The Democrat is one of the most influential state legislators to attend the group’s China-related activities. The CPA and the State Legislative Leaders Foundation each paid about $7,500 for Hertzberg’s trips to China summits in 2016, 2018, and 2019, according to financial statements checked by the Washington Free Beacon. On at least two of those visits, Hertzberg met with the CCP’s regional officials, according to photos shared on a Chinese social networking site.
Although the State Legislative Leaders Foundation does not campaign directly, it serves to double as a matchmaker for corporate sponsors and state legislators. This dynamic is illustrated in emails received by the Free Beacon from Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Bulger contacted Biden in March 2015 with an opportunity to help the Chinese government-linked aviation firm buy an American auto parts manufacturer.
The deal “might be disconcerting to local stakeholders such as Unions and local elected officials concerned about job losses to an overseas buyer,” Bulger told Biden.
“It would be prudent for me to visit local elected officials (through the State Legislative Leaders Foundation contacts) and advise them on our preparations for the company post purchase in order to mitigate such legitimate concerns,” Bulger said.
In response to the email, Biden expressed concern that offshoring jobs would result in unfavorable coverage.
The deal was finally completed. For $600 million, China’s Aviation Industry Corporation purchased a majority interest in Michigan-based parts manufacturer Henniges Automotive. The contract was 49% owned by BHR Partners, the consortium to which Biden and Bulger belonged.
Biden’s first business trip to China was planned by the two partners in April 2010. The trip was outlined in a study on Biden’s international business practices published by Senate Republicans last year. Biden’s visit, according to Republicans, contributed to potential business prospects for him in China.
Lin and Bulger arranged the State Legislative Leaders Foundation’s first summit in Beijing months before the junket. Leaders from statehouses across the United States, as well as Chinese government officials and senior executives from firms including Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and Bank of Beijing, attended the conference, Lin revealed afterward.
Lin said the summit could help China establish business ties that could result in “new opportunities” and technologies for Beijing, according to a transcript of his remarks.
According to tax filings from the State Legislative Leaders Foundation for 2009, the summit was “held in cooperation with the Chinese government.”
Over the last decade, the foundation has pulled in between $3 million and $4 million in sales. According to tax filings, the group’s corporate sponsors pay between $15,000 and $50,000 to participate on the advisory board. In 2017, the Motion Picture Association of America contributed $45,000 to the organization, while the Wireless Association contributed $35,000.
For the last ten years, Lakis’ pay has increased significantly, from $327,000 in 2008 to $548,000 in 2018.
Lin and Bulger formed a new company called Michelangelo Investment Holdings Limited in 2018 with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation and Lakis. Michelangelo joined the foundation’s advisory board in May 2018, according to business updates on the Chinese networking platform Sodu.com. DJI, a Chinese drone manufacturer, was the only other Chinese firm on the advisory board. In 2020, the Trump administration put DJI on a no-fly list because of its alleged links to the CCP.
Michelangelo’s now-defunct website boasted about its links to politicians such as Lakis, state legislators, and both Joe and Hunter Biden. An undated shot of Hunter Biden at a BHR Partners conference can be seen on an archived version of the website. Lin is also seen in a 2017 photo posing with Joe Biden at a function.
Michelangelo also shared a rundown of Lin and Bulger’s meetings in the U.S., as well as the State Legislative Leaders Foundation’s third China-U.S. Provincial and State Legislature Cooperation Forum, which took place in Las Vegas in November 2018.