Politics

China Is Buying America’s Elites, Public Corruption Expert Says

Peter Schweizer talks about his new book, which details how China gains influence through sweetheart deals for prominent pols' relatives

China has gained enormous influence in the United States by buying America’s political elite — often through relatives — journalist and author Peter Schweizer said Tuesday.

Schweizer, who gained prominence in 2016 with his exposé “Clinton Cash,” talked on “The Laura Ingraham Show” about “Secret Empire: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends.”

His new book, in part, details China’s efforts to win influence in the United States.

“They are basically trying to buy off American political elites by giving big deals to their family members, and it appears to be working,” he said.

Schweizer (pictured above) said relatives of former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State John Kerry, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) all have benefited from lucrative business deals.

He offered the example of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who traveled with his father on Air Force Two to Beijing in 2013. At the time, China’s ambitions in the South Pacific Ocean, trade and other issues were complicating relations.

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Ten days after the Bidens left, Schweizer said, Hunter Biden had a deal from the Chinese government to manage a $1.5 billion government-owned private equity firm.

“To put this in context, Laura, Hunter Biden has no background in private equity — no background,” he said.

Schweizer said Kerry’s stepson and McConnell’s in-laws also have gotten sweetheart deals from the Chinese.

The Chinese are disturbed by Trump’s strident rhetoric, Schweizer added.

“Their strategy to soften Trump is they want to offer sweetheart deals to the kids,” he said. “And the reason they want to do that is [that] this strategy has worked with previous political administrations.”

Schweizer noted that proponents of trade with China long have argued that commerce would bring the countries closer together and reduce chances for conflict.

But that argument works both ways, Schweizer said.

“The argument that commercial transactions bring people closer together certainly applies to political elites,” he said. “The Chinese recognize that ‘if we do big deals with Joe Biden’s kids, Joe Biden is going to take a softer position with us.’ It’s just automatic.”

Schweizer pointed to another section of his book focusing on former President Barack Obama’s use of the regulatory state to create business opportunities for his friends.

The Department of Defense forbade service members from using the GI Bill to pay for tuition at the University of Phoenix, a for-profit college that the administration believed offered an inferior education.

Schweizer said the move helped drive down the company’s stock from $100 a share to $3 a share. Marty Nesbitt, a close friend of Obama’s, swooped in to buy the college for pennies on the dollar.

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Soon afterward, Schweizer said, the Pentagon reversed its restriction on using the GI Bill for tuition at the University of Phoenix.

“It’s a pattern,” he said. “It’s not just the University of Phoenix.”

But that example pales in comparison to the national security threat posed by China, Schweizer said.

“They are the rising, ascendant power,” he said. “There’s all this focus on Russia. And look, Russia poses a challenge, too. But Russia is basically a declining power.”

PoliZette senior writer Brendan Kirby can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage image: Peter Schweizer, Craig Shirley & Paul Kengor, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)

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