by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Biden think tank at the University of Pennsylvania where the president stashed classified documents didn’t just have lax security—it also hosted events in partnership with organizations that promoted closer engagement with China, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.
The Penn Biden Center hosted a two-day “bootcamp” for congressional staffers in June that encouraged closer ties with China on issues like green energy and academia, according to a source. One of the organizing groups has an advisory board member who served as spokesman for the controversial Chinese tech giant Baidu. The event was held as anonymous donors from China have poured millions into the University of Pennsylvania.
There were no posted security officials at the Penn Biden Center during the June conference—just regular Penn staffers—and attendees were able to walk around the center unmonitored and make use of unused rooms for phone calls and other private work during the conference.
The news raises questions about security at the Penn Biden Center following revelations that classified documents from Joe Biden’s vice presidency had been improperly stored at the think tank in Washington, D.C., and at his home in Wilmington, Del. Biden has pushed back against notions that he mishandled information, describing the Penn Biden Center as a place where his lawyers “set up an office for me—a secure office in the Capitol, when I—the four years after being vice president, I was a professor at Penn.”
The events also raise questions about the extent of the Biden team’s involvement in the University of Pennsylvania’s opaquely funded China initiatives, which ramped up in recent years as millions of dollars in Chinese donations poured into the university. The university has denied that the contributions have any connection to the Penn Biden Center, and a spokesman told the Free Beacon that no foreign donations were specifically earmarked for the think tank.