Democrats say the emails were routine and that Hunter Biden’s business associate worked as Joe Biden’s financial adviser and helped the then-vice president file his tax returns.
Joe Biden exchanged emails with his son Hunter’s business associate 54 times while he was serving as vice president, and some of the messages were sent around the time the elder Biden was traveling to Ukraine and his son was working for a Ukrainian gas company, according to records released by House Republicans.
A White House spokesperson declined to comment but pointed to statements by House Democrats that Hunter Biden’s business associate, Eric Schwerin, worked as Joe Biden’s financial adviser from 2009 to 2017 and helped him file his tax returns. Schwerin did not respond to requests for comment.
The records released describe the dates of the emails and who exchanged them, but do not include the messages themselves. NBC News has not reviewed the contents of the emails.
All told, then-Vice President Biden emailed Schwerin 35 times before and after his 2014 trips to Ukraine. Five emails were exchanged just prior to a trip by Vice President Biden to Ukraine on June 7, 2014, and 27 emails were sent from the end of June to a second trip to Ukraine by Biden on Nov. 21, 2014.
The bulk of the communication occurred in the lead-up to and following an agreement for Hunter Biden to serve on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma.
Earlier this year, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said in a news release that Schwerin told House Ways and Means Committee staff in a March interview that the elder Biden was not involved in the business of his son or any of his relatives.
Raskin said Schwerin stated that “he was not aware of any involvement by President Biden in the financial conduct of the President’s relatives’ businesses, much less any transactions into or out of the then-vice president’s bank account related to business conducted by any Biden family member.”
The email disclosures were part of law enforcement records released by House Republicans following the testimony of IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler. This month, Ziegler provided the documents to the House Ways and Means Committeein conjunction with a sworn affidavit. The committee, which also heard the testimony of a second IRS whistleblower, Gary Shapley, is led by Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo.
Ziegler told Congress that “there were multiple emails found with Hunter Biden and his business associates” but the investigative team was unaware at the time that then-Vice President Biden used an alias in his private emails.
Hunter Biden earned nearly $1.2 million from Burisma in 2014, according to emails contained on a copy of his hard drive and obtainedby NBC News. In their recent tax indictment of Biden, federal prosecutors alleged he made over $1.4 million from 2016 to 2019, when Biden’s engagement with the Ukrainian firm ended.
Biden is scheduled to be arraigned on misdemeanor and felony federal tax charges in Los Angeles in early January. After his indictment last week, Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell said in a statement, “After five years of investigating with no new evidence — and two years after Hunter paid his taxes in full — the U.S. Attorney has piled on nine new charges when he had agreed just months ago to resolve this matter with a pair of misdemeanors.”
Biden’s addition to Burisma’s board as head of legal affairs was reported in a news release in May 2014. At some point from May to December 2014, Burisma allegedly paid a bribe to a Ukrainian official to help stop a joint British-U.S. money-laundering investigation into Burisma’s top executive, according to a State Department email that quotes a Ukrainian prosecutor.
Former President Donald Trump has falsely claimed that Joe Biden helped oust a Ukrainian prosecutor, Victor Shokin, when he was “prosecuting” Burisma. Multiple U.S. officials testified to Congress that Shokin was forced out in a joint American and British effort because he himself was corrupt.
Hunter Biden later wrote in his 2021 book, “Beautiful Things: A Memoir,” that few of his business deals brought tangible results. He said he wasn’t “desperate” before he landed a position on the board of Burisma in 2014 but that the money was “helpful” and that it came at a “fortuitous” time.
He said it meant he didn’t have to work hard to find clients, “the most time-consuming part of my work — drilling twenty dry wells to finally hit pay dirt,” and that it allowed him to spend more time with his dying brother, Beau.