Independent journalist Lee Fang released a series of emails and evidence showing that Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, hired specialists to quietly edit biographies on Wikipedia in order to launder his image and that of his Ukrainian associates.
Fang’s report comes at a complicated time for Hunter Biden. He currently is facing the fierce scrutiny of congressional Republicans who are investigating his controversial business dealings abroad, especially in China and Ukraine, with the energy firm Burisma and Chinese partners linked to the Asian giant’s Communist Party.
According to Fang, many influential people, such as then-Vice President Biden’s son, used expert image-washing contractors to obtain more favorable entries on sites like Wikipedia.
“Emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop show that he made continuous efforts to airbrush his image and the Wikipedia articles associated with his Ukrainian benefactors,” wrote the reporter. Fang explained that Hunter’s efforts paid off, as he managed, for a time, to improve his biography by removing controversial content and highlighting his work in government and as a contributor to non-governmental organizations.
According to the 2014 report, when he was working for FTI Consulting, a major public relations firm, Hunter actively sought to modify his Wikipedia biography through Ryan Toohey, also of FTI, who confirmed in emails that he would get to work.
“Hunter forwarded along edits seeking the deletion of unflattering lines in his Wikipedia biography, such as his ties to disgraced Ponzi scheme financier Allen Stanford,” Fang wrote.
On Wikipedia, the system allows you to view the history of edits carried out on entries. According to Fang, that record “shows that shortly after Hunter’s request, several anonymous Wikipedia accounts began a series of edits to his page, adding changes requested by Hunter and deleting embarrassing lines.”
The emails read that the son of then-Vice President Biden attempted to remove a line linking the National Endowment for Democracy, an organization Hunter worked for, to the CIA.
He also wanted to pad and enrich his resume with more official titles from various NGO board positions, government service and volunteer work.
Image cleansing for his Ukrainian partners
Perhaps the most serious part of Fang’s report relates to Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that paid Hunter Biden $83,000 monthly to sit on its board of directors, even though Hunter had no experience in the energy field.
Burisma’s controversial owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, according to a “highly credible” FBI informant, reportedly paid $5 million to Hunter and Joe Biden respectively, in exchange for political favors.
Such political favors could be related to the dismissal of Viktor Shokin, a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma for corruption who was fired under pressure from the US Government when Joe Biden was the key man for foreign policy in Ukraine.
The US Government’s excuse for pushing for Shokin’s dismissal was, at the time, that the prosecutor was not tough enough on corruption. However, with the current evidence, the conflict of interest has become increasingly problematic for the Biden family, which faces active investigations by Congress and federal agencies.
The report notes that anonymous user “Earflaps” was among those who made the most edits to Hunter’s page, “including the deletion of criticism of Hunter’s work for Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm.”
“That account was later identified as a ‘sock puppet,’ a term used for the illicit pay-for-play editing by fake accounts, to airbrush negative information off of Wikipedia. An investigation found that Earflaps was one of nearly a dozen fake accounts tied to PR firms hired to carefully manage the image of Russian businessmen,” Fang charged in his investigation.