|Born||Robert Hunter Biden
February 4, 1970
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
|Alma mater||Georgetown University (B.A.)
Yale Law School (J.D.)
|Political party||Democratic Party|
|Children||Naomi Biden (daughter)
Finnegan Biden (daughter)
Maisy Biden (daughter)
|Relatives||Joe Biden (father)
Neilia Biden (mother; deceased)
Jill Biden (step-mother)
Beau Biden (brother; deceased)
Naomi Biden (sister; deceased)
Ashley Biden (half-sister)
Robert Hunter Biden (born February 4, 1970) is an American lawyer and businessman. The second son from the marriage of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his first wife, Neilia Biden, he is the stepson of Second Lady of the U.S. Jill Biden.
Born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, after attending law school Hunter Biden became a senior VP at MBNA, a financial company, in the mid-1990s. In 1998 he was appointed by President Bill Clinton as a director of e-commerce policy issues in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and from 2001 to 2008 he was a partner at Oldaker, Biden, and Belair, LLP in Washington, D.C. Nominated by President George W. Bush to the Amtrak board of directors in 2006, Biden was unanimously confirmed as the board's only Democrat shortly afterwards. He served as the Amtrak board's vice-chair until 2009.
Elected chairman of World Food Program USA in 2012, by that time Biden was already traveling on behalf of the organization and advocating their programs in the media. In 2013 he joined the U.S. Navy Reserve, as a limited-duty service ensign; he served for two months and was discharged after testing positive for cocaine. Biden currently sits on the Chairman's Advisory Board for the National Democratic Institute, and he holds directorships on the boards of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, the Truman National Security Project, the Center for National Policy, and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings, an appointment which met with some controversy in the press. Among other roles, Biden is also a partner at Rosemont Seneca Partners, LLC and is counsel to Boies, Schiller, Flexner, LLP.
Early life and education
Robert Hunter Biden was born on February 4, 1970 in Wilmington, Delaware, to Neilia (née Hunter) and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Hunter Biden was two years old when his mother and younger sister, Naomi Christina, were killed in an automobile accident, and both Biden and his older brother, Beau, were seriously injured. In his eulogy at his brother’s funeral in 2015, Hunter described his first memory after the accident as lying next to his brother in the hospital bed and having his brother hold his hand. Although their father had recently been elected to the US Senate, after the accident the family remained in Wilmington instead of moving to Washington, D.C. Throughout their childhoods, Hunter Biden and his brother accompanied their father on frequent trips to Washington, D.C., and on travel around the country and internationally. Hunter has described their experiences positively, explaining that "from the time we left the hospital, my dad spent every moment that he possibly could with us. No event was too small, no event was too great... we went to thousands of speeches, chicken dinners and debates. We rode on the train with him for thousands of miles. We went everywhere with him.” As Hunter and Beau grew older they encouraged their father to remarry. Hunter was seven years old when future educator, Jill Jacobs, became his stepmother. His half-sister, Ashley, was born in 1981. Biden received a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. After graduating from college he joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, where he met his wife Kathleen.
The large US bank and holding company MBNA hired Biden in late 1996, where he was employed as a senior vice president until 1998. He left MBNA after being appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as Executive Director of E-commerce Policy Coordination in the United States Department of Commerce. Working under Secretaries Norman Mineta and William M. Daley, he held the position until 2001. From 2001 to 2008 Biden was a founding partner of Oldaker, Biden, and Belair, LLP, a Washington D.C.-based law firm. Through the company he worked as an attorney and lobbyist, primarily lobbying on behalf of colleges, hospitals, and technology firms. Starting in 2006, Biden concurrently served as interim CEO and later chairman of Paradigm Global Advisors. In January 2007 he stepped down from "daily oversight" of Paradigm, although he remained Chairman.
After leaving Oldker, Biden and Belair in 2008, Biden continued in law and management as a partner at the investment company Rosemont Seneca Partners. As of 2010, he is counsel for Boies Schiller Flexner, a New York City-based law firm, and he periodically teaches as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He also co-founded the mergers and acquisitions firm Eudora Global in 2010, becoming a partner and director.
On May 16, 2006, Biden was nominated by U.S. President George W. Bush to occupy the vacancy left by former Governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis on the board of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, or Amtrak. Biden was unanimously confirmed as an active board-member on July 26, 2006, replacing Dukakis as the board's only Democrat. Politico published an article about Biden's work with Amtrak in February 2007, with author Andrew Glass explaining that since joining the board less than a year earlier Biden had "spent a good deal of his time advocating without pay on behalf of the hard-pressed, government-subsidized nationwide railroad." At the time, Amtrak employed 20,000 people in 46 states and served 25 million passengers a year, the most since its founding in 1970. Politico noted problems, however, stating that "the rail system chronically operates in the red. A pattern has emerged: Congress overrides cutbacks demanded by the White House and appropriates enough funds to keep Amtrak from plunging into insolvency. But, Amtrak advocates say, that is not enough to fix the system's woes." The article noted that Amtrak is banned by law from lobbying Congress, but David R. Johnson, assistant director of the non-partisan National Association of Railroad Passengers, was quoted stating that Amtrak has "an effective advocate in Hunter Biden."
By November 2008, the recently enacted HR 2095 legislation had expanded the Amtrak board to nine people, with only five of those roles filled at the time: Biden, Thomas C. Carper, Donna McLean, Nancy Naples, and the Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters. Positions shifted on January 29, 2009, when in a unanimous decision at its regular board meeting, Amtrak named Thomas Carper to as the new chairman or the railroad, with former chairman Donna McLean stepping down and taking Biden's role as vice chairman. Biden remained on Amtrak's board. During his tenure on the board, which lasted until 2009, he selected Joseph H. Boardman, at the time administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, as the successor to Alexander Kummant as Amtrak President and CEO. In January 2010, Amtrak announced that Boardman's appointment had been extended indefinitely. After Boardman’s appointment, Amtrak made some progress cutting debt, purchasing new equipment, and improving infrastructure, with cost recovery reaching a new company peak of 93% in 2014.
Chairman of WFP USA
In 2009 he joined the board of the World Food Program USA (WFP USA). He was elected chairman of WFP USA in 2012, and by that time was often traveling on behalf of the organization and advocating their various programs in the media. In 2011 he and WFP USA president Rick Leach met with families receiving food assistance in the Kenya refugee camp of Dadaab. Biden and Leach also traveled to the Philippines in 2013, surveying relief efforts and talking with survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in Guiuan and Tacloban.
Biden and family members, including his stepmother have taken part in a number of WFP USA campaigns, including the 2013 and 2014 Live Below The Line program in which participants are challenged to eat at the global poverty level of $1.50 a day. He and his wife and daughters were also involved in WFP's Back to School campaign, which raises funds for school lunches both in the US and internationally. He has represented WFP USA at events such as SXSW and the Town & Country Philanthropy Summit in 2014, and in April 2015 he appeared at the Milken Institute's Global Conference, speaking at the panel Creating Stronger Partnerships for Global Food Security.
In May 2013, Biden was selected as a direct commission officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve, a program that allows civilians with no prior service to receive a limited duty officer's commission after attending a two-week class covering topics such as military history, etiquette, and drill and ceremony, in lieu of boot camp.[not in citation given] As Biden was past the cut-off age for the program he needed a waiver. Biden received a second waiver because of a past drug-related incident.
News of Biden's discharge was not made public and was not first reported until October 2014 when it was revealed to the Wall Street Journal by a Navy official who spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity. In a statement released by his attorney, Biden later acknowledged his discharge. A staff editorial in Biden's hometown newspaper, the News Journal, following the incident described the process by which Biden came to receive the various waivers that allowed him initial entry into the Navy as "soft corruption."
On April 18, 2014, it was announced that Biden would be joining the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, a firm which owns several Ukrainian oil and gas companies and is the country's largest non-governmental natural gas producer. Biden became an acting director on May 12, 2014. On Burisma's website, he wrote that he believed Burisma was important to the economy of Ukraine, and that he would be consulting "on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities". Burisma appointed several other directors at that time, including Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Vadym Pozharskyi, and financial manager Devon Archer, who is a partner at Rosemont Seneca Partners along with Biden.
The appointments met with significant press coverage, and critics argued that Biden's work for a country promoting Ukrainian energy independence was a blatant conflict of interest. The White House dismissed nepotism charges, but Melanie Sloan, the director of the non-profit organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, stated that without "solid evidence that Hunter Biden got his job to influence American foreign policy, there’s no clear line that has been crossed". Morgan Williams, director of the US-Ukraine Business Council, argued that while there was no evidence of a conflict, the appointment violated an "unspoken" American tradition which frowns on businesses "with links to active politics" associating with the family members of politicians.
Biden is a member of the bar in the state of Connecticut, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. As of 2014 he is also a director on various boards. A chairman of the World Food Program USA and a director at Eudora Global since 2010, he also holds directorships on the boards of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, the Truman National Security Project, and the Center for National Policy.
Biden sits on the Chairman’s Advisory Board for the National Democratic Institute, and is furthermore a board-member at the President’s Advisory board of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington and the Israel Idonije Foundation. He has had prior associations with the boards of several entities, having served on the board of directors for Amtrak from 2006 to 2009. He was also vice chairman of Amtrak from 2006 to 2009. He served as Honorary Co-Chair of the 2008 Obama-Biden Inaugural Committee, and was also a board member of the CSIS Executive Council on Development and the National Prostate Cancer Coalition.
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