Updated: Apr 10
The current controversy over former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden's lucrative deal to serve on the board of a Ukrainian gas company is an unmistakable appearance of a conflict of interest. Hunter Biden served on the gas company board for several years while Joe Biden was Vice President involved in Barack Obama's policies towards Ukraine. Again, the appearance of a conflict of interest is unmistakable, but there is no evidence that Joe Biden has done anything wrong or that the fact that his son was on that board affected his dealings with Ukraine on behalf of President Obama and the American people. On the contrary, the story seems to be that Joe Biden did a good job at carrying out Obama's and America's European allies' policies on Ukraine. This has been looked at and conspiracy theories that suggest otherwise have been completely debunked by major respected news outlets, including Bloomberg News (look it up).
But still there is that appearance of a conflict of interest. Joe Biden says he never discussed with his son what he was doing for the Ukrainian gas company other than saying to him something along the lines that he hoped that his son Hunter knew what he was doing. Sounds like something I've asked my son many times, especially when I kind of doubted that he may not really know all the ramifications of what he was doing.
If you read much about Hunter Biden you can't help wonder how much being the son of a Senator and later a Vice President was helping him through life; and Hunter had ample trouble and tragedy in his life, what with the death of his mother and sister in a tragic automobile accident and the death of his brother from brain cancer. But Hunter had some successes as well. He graduated from Georgetown University and earned a law degree at Yale and he worked effectively on his father's political campaigns.
Being the namesake of a long time successful politician was an unmistakable benefit to Hunter. Biden took a position at MBNA America, a major bank holding company that was a major contributor to his father's political campaigns. He rose to the rank of executive vice president with the company. He took a job with the United States Department of Commerce, focusing on economic policy. Then he became a lobbyist. All of these positions were commensurate with his academic degrees, but getting them may have been easier because he was the son of Senator Joe Biden.
None of this is unusual. It happens all the time in Washington, DC among politicians and their offspring (though this is not to claim that all children of politicians benefit in this way). And one shouldn't discount the downside and difficulty of having a famously successful father, of having to live up to that success, even though many of us would love to tolerate any downside in order to have a leg up that a successful father can give one in life. Apparently Hunter Biden struggled with the burden of living in the shadow of a successful father. Witness excessive drinking and some evidence of substance abuse and a couple of divorces.
But how do you stop a son's trading on their father's success, and or difficulties of living up to such a father? Look at Trump himself. Do you really think that Donald Trump would be where he is today, both in is successes and his failures, if he had not had a successfully rich father?
Trump's father made a fortune building and selling housing for American soldiers and their families in World War II. After the war he parleyed that success into a successful real estate company. It was at his father's real estate company that Trump got his start in business. In 1971, Trump took control of his father's apartment rental company. There is no doubt having a leg up from a successful father helped Donald Trump with his successes in life, but it may also have contributed to some of his failures.
Father's will always try to help their sons. Think about it. If you were in a position to help your son or daughter get a good job because you knew someone and had some business with that someone that could help your son or daughter by offering him or her a good job wouldn't you go for it? And if there is nothing illegal going on about it, that there is no quid pro quo and all labor laws and antidiscrimination laws and anti nepotism laws are adhered to and everything is on the up and up, I don't see how we could completely stop this. It is human nature. Of course it can get really out of hand. Look at the current White House with Trump's daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Now that is nepotism.
If you want to know more about the Biden controversy read this from Bloomberg News
And if you are really, really interested read this long piece from the New Yorker magazine https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/07/08/will-hunter-biden-jeopardize-his-fathers-campaign