The Wall Street Journal reported in October of 2014 that the Vice President’s son, Hunter Biden, was released from the Navy for cocaine use:
Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter was discharged from the Navy Reserve this year after testing positive for cocaine, according to people familiar with the matter.
Hunter Biden, a lawyer by training who is now a managing partner at an investment company, had been commissioned as an ensign in the Navy Reserve, a part-time position. But after failing a drug test last year, his brief military career ended.
There was no stopping the Biden’s however. A couple months later, young Biden was on the Board of the largest gas and oil company in the Ukraine making $50,000 a month, an exorbitant amount for a Board member at any company. According to Business Insider –
- In April 2014, Biden’s son Hunter joined the board of Burisma Holdings. Hunter served on the board until early 2019.
- At the time, a news release from the company said Hunter would be “in charge of the Holdings’ legal unit and will provide support for the Company among international organizations.”
- Hunter told the New York Times that the news release was not accurate and he was never in charge of the company’s legal affairs.
- He joined the company about a month after Russia annexed Crimea, a cataclysmic moment that continues to put the US at odds with Russia and is linked to ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.
- During his time with Burisma, Hunter reportedly received compensation up to $50,000 a month.
- From the start, Hunter’s role at Burisma was criticized by ethics watchdogs as a conflict of interest for his father, who was still vice president at the time and heavily focused on pressuring Ukraine to do a better job rooting out corruption. But some ethics watchdogs at the time also said that unless there was clear evidence Hunter got the job to influence US foreign policy then there was no cause for concern.
- His hiring by Burisma was seen as an attempt by the company to bolster its image and the perception it had strong ties to the US as the world vilified Russia for its annexation of Crimea, the Times reported.
- Yoshiko M. Herrera, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and an an expert on Russia and Eurasia, told The Washington Post: “I think there is a conflict of interest even if it doesn’t break any laws. It’s a big deal. It’s the vice president, who is the point person of the Obama administration’s policy on Ukraine, and his son is suddenly hired to be a director on the board of Ukraine’s largest private gas producer.”
- With that said, Hunter has never been accused of wrongdoing regarding his work with Burisma.
- Hunter also said he only had one brief conversation with his father about Burisma which did not go into substantive details about the deal. Joe Biden has said he learned about his son’s role at the company from news reports.