Oh, the Irony: Penn Biden 'Think Tank' Reportedly 'Inactive' and 'Seemingly Leaderless'

Oh, the Irony: Penn Biden 'Think Tank' Reportedly 'Inactive' and 'Seemingly Leaderless'
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The “Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.” Sounds impressive, right? And really, really smart, too. Just one problem: The “think tank” has had no publicized activity for nearly a year, is “inactive” and “seemingly leaderless,” and its future is uncertain. Sometimes, this stuff writes itself.

It gets worse.

As reported by the Pennsylvania Star, Biden reportedly used the Washington, D.C.-based center as his main D.C. office for much of the time between the end of his vice presidency in January 2017 and his White House run in 2020. From 2017 to 2019, Biden received roughly $900,000 in salary for a Penn professorship that… wait for it… didn’t require him to teach regular classes.

So what did he do? Dunno, ask Joe; I’m sure he’ll provide an honest and straightforward answer.

As we reported on January 9, the first trove of Biden’s classified document was found at the center, and the scandal has exploded from there. As the document scandal continues, troubling news has emerged about the Penn Biden Center itself. Here’s more, via the Star:

Some observers have noted that donations and contract payments from entities in Communist China to Penn ballooned to $61 million in the think tank’s initial three years of operation, raising questions about potential Chinese influence on the university and about who may have had access to the classified materials.

During much of its existence, the Penn Biden Center functioned as a professional mainstay for foreign-policy specialists who would go on to join the Biden administration. Now, the office’s website lists no staff. 

Huh. Imagine that. All of it.

And, as the Star reported last Thursday, the think tank has published little, if any, original research. Moreover, its media output has been particularly infrequent in the past year. Its last web announcement was posted last April and it has issued no social media updates since May.

Why, you don’t suppose — never mind; responsible people mustn’t jump to conclusions. [sarc]

Still, neither the University of Pennsylvania communications office, the Penn Global initiative which operates the center, nor the center itself responded to a Pennsylvania Star email asking whether the institution has any administrators, the total amount of its operating expenses, and whether it will continue to operate its 13,800-square-foot space on Constitution Avenue. Pricey, no doubt.

Hmm. You don’t think — never mind.

Anyway, since the Penn Biden Center’s “heyday,” the think tank appears to have become a “bare-bones office.” The webpage that “boasted a bevy of scholars in years past” showed only a three-member senior staff in 2022, and now lists zero scholars or employees. Go figure.

The Bottom Line

The irony is hilarious. Like Joe Biden himself, his “think tank” has nothing in the tank, is inactive, and is seemingly leaderless. Then again, at least Joe’s puppeteers pull his strings, although when it comes to the Penn Biden Center, even his handlers appear to have been asleep at the switch.

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