Hunter Biden Has Connections to TikTok: Hunter Biden just can’t catch a break.
He is in the news again for his business practices. This time it is related to the controversial social media app TikTok that itself is embroiled in an investigation and Congressional scrutiny for allegedly collecting data for the Chinese government (an accusation the parent company denies). TikTok is using a constellation of lobbyists to navigate through the inquiries from Congress and a potential banishment of the app in the United States.
What Is the Hunter Biden-TikTok Connection?
The head lobbyist for TikTok (owned by the Chinese corporation ByteDance) once advised a venture capital technology firm on business development. Nothing wrong with that, but the entity the lobbyist represented had “close ties” to the president’s son, as described by Fox News.
Michael Beckerman, who is the vice president for public policy for TikTok, once was employed by Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners (RSTP). This was related to Biden’s own business Rosemont Seneca Partners. Beckerman’s position with RSTP was reportedly working as a Strategic Business Development Advisor which means he likely helped with startup technology investment and as a fund raiser for the firm.
This company is becoming more interesting. Along with Beckerman, Rob Walker appeared on the company web site (now defunct) as a managing director.
China Payment Scheme Involves Rob Walker
You may recognize Rob Walker from previous reporting from 19FortyFive on Hunter’s business associates who may have aided him in accepting exorbitant payments from a Chinese firm.
Hunter Biden and his uncle and sister-in-law received over a million dollars in installments from bank accounts associated with Walker in 2017.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and his staff unearthed bank records that show questionable wire transfers to Walker from a Chinese energy concern called CEFC that were then disbursed to Biden family members. It is unclear what the payments were for.
White House Denies Wrongdoing
President Biden has denied they have taken place while White House spokespersons said the payments were for seed money and were legal, proper, and above board.
Hunter Biden’s loose connection to Beckerman and TikTok may be over-stated. Beckerman has not been accused of wrongdoing and Hunter has no other ties to TikTok that are readily apparent. But Beckerman could become a witness for Comer’s committee because he may know more details about Hunter’s business dealings with RSTP. Beckerman, if hauled in front of the committee, would likely have to answer questions related to Walker, whose name keeps coming up in this investigation.
It is difficult to unwind all of Hunter’s business dealings and that is why the committee’s investigators are taking a microscope to his activities. Attaching Hunter to the TikTok investigation may be a stretch for the committee, but it comes at a fraught time for the Chinese app as many Republicans lawmakers are calling for a complete ban of TikTok in the United States. Hunter still appears as a star attraction for conservative media who are jumping at any item of potential wrongdoing. They are investigating all of the convoluted business practices that the younger Biden has been intertwined with over the years.
So, the TikTok story is likely to fade, but it is noteworthy that Beckerman and Walkers once worked together. The committee could ask more questions about the role that Hunter played at RSTP and whether the firm had connections to China and the extent to which there could have been lobbying with foreign governments.
One thing about Hunter Biden is that he can withstand the scrutiny of negative news about him. He may be considered a shady character by many, and he is seemingly resilient as of now, but his legal predicaments are catching up to him. President Biden definitely has an inconvenient son.
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Author Expertise and Experience:
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.