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Biden’s classified documents found in think tank for UPenn, which has financial ties to China

Washington D.C. think tank funded by university with financial connections to China

The Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, an office building associated with the University of Pennsylvania located in the nation’s capital, has become the center of a growing scandal engulfing President Joe Biden.

Biden’s lawyers found classified documents in the former office of his Washington D.C. think tank in early November, CBS News first reported last Monday.

The first set of documents from Biden’s time as vice president was discovered on Nov. 2 last year, six days before the midterm elections.

An additional five pages were found in the president’s private library of his Wilmington, Delaware, home after the White House previously said only one page was found there, the Associated Press reported Saturday. This was the latest batch of Biden’s classified documents to be discovered.

Biden told reporters Tuesday night he was “surprised” to learn of the documents’ discovery at the think tank and claimed he didn’t know their contents, according to Fox News.

However, this was not the only reason the Penn Biden Center drew suspicion recently.

Critics have expressed concern as to why China remains financially involved in Penn, as the university received about $77 million in Chinese donations between 2014 and 2020, according to Penn’s student newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian.

From 2020 to 2022, the Chinese government donated roughly an additional $15 million in gifts and contracts to the university, Fox News reported.

None of this money has been allocated to fund the center since its grand opening in February 2018, the university’s Vice President of Communications Stephen MacCarthy told Fox News.

“The Penn Biden Center has never solicited or received any gifts from any Chinese or other foreign entity,” MacCarthy said. “In fact, the University has never solicited any gifts for the Center.”

The center’s mission is to engage students through “original research, analysis, and commentary on America’s place in the world and the global forces that impact our national security, democratic institutions, and foreign policy,” according to its website.

The university office has operated “completely independent of the Biden administration” since the president took office, the center’s website stated.

In addition to filing a FOIA request for Biden’s mishandling of the documents, the National Legal and Policy Center called for the investigation of Penn’s significant amount of Chinese donations received in the past decade.

In an interview with The College Fix, NLPC counsel Paul Kamenar said the Select Committee on China will “be looking at…the Chinese connection to universities, not just the University of Pennsylvania but other ones like Harvard and Yale, where there’s a lot of money coming in and where there’s a question of Chinese influence.”

The house created the special committee Tuesday.

This is not the first time NLPC has requested government authorities to investigate the matter. In 2020, the nonprofit filed a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education after the university failed to disclose its $22 million in anonymous donations from China.

“The law could not be any clearer: universities must disclose the source of the monetary
gifts and contracts over $250,000 in a calendar year,” the complaint read, referring to the Higher Education Act.

While serving as the research institute’s namesake, Biden became Penn’s Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor a month after he left the vice presidency in 2017. Though he gave talks and lectures to university students in this position, Biden, who was paid over $775,000 for two years, did not teach any classes.

Penn nor the White House immediately responded to The College Fix’s requests for comment.

Since the initial report last week, Biden aides recovered more classified documents Wednesday, causing uproar among House Republicans. It was revealed a day later this second batch was located inside the garage of Biden’s Delaware home, Fox News reported.

As a result, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that the Department of Justice is launching an investigation into the Biden documents case.

MORE: Complaint filed against Penn, Biden Center for undisclosed China contributions

IMAGE: Drop of Light / Shutterstock

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About the Author
College Fix contributor David Zimmermann is a student at Grove City College where he is studying communications and professional writing. He currently serves as editor-in-chief of his college's newspaper, The Collegian, and has worked with The Western Journal as an editorial intern.