An interesting dynamic to watch over the next four years — IF there is a Biden Administration — is whether the New York Post continues to take an editorial point of view on its news side that is overtly hostile to the Biden families’ activities prior to taking office.
Yesterday’s front page included a story that zeros in on what is likely a very sensitive subject — the actions of Joe Biden and his family following the death of his son Beau in 2015 from brain cancer.
In 2016, Congress passed the “21st Century Cures Act,” which authorized $6.3 billion to deal with a variety of medical and mental health issues, including a sum of $1.8 billion dedicated to cancer research in what is called the “Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot” initiative.
After leaving office, Joe Biden and his wife formed a charity in memory of Beau Biden dedicated to the task of aiding in the cause of finding a cure for cancer. According to the Post:
The Biden Cancer Initiative was founded in 2017 by the former vice president and his wife Jill Biden to “develop and drive implementation of solutions to accelerate progress in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research and care and to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes,” according to its IRS mission statement.
But while the “charity” raised over $4 million in the more than two years the Bidens were involved — he suspended involvement after deciding to run for President — the manner in which the funds were spent raises interesting questions.
First, the CEO of the “Biden Cancer Initiative” was Gregory Simon, a former Pfizer executive and health care lobbyist who headed up the White House’s cancer task force in the Obama administration.
But the Post doesn’t fully explain who Greg Simon is — and there is a bit of a peek here into some possible “themes” of an upcoming Biden Administration — if Joe Biden wins the election.
Simon was an aide to Al Gore when he was Vice President and eventually rose to be his Chief Domestic Policy Advisor in the middle of the Clinton years. He helped with drafted regulations for the biotech industry, and was Gore’s representative on the National Economic Council. Simon left the Clinton Administration to cash in — he formed the DC lobbying firm Simon Strategies and took on clients such as Enron, Southern Company, Sony, Netscape, Motorola, Global Crossing, AOL, and Cisco.
While maintaining his lobbying practice, Simon was a bundler and top advisor for Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.
Before becoming CEO of the Biden Cancer Initiative, Simon had been the Director of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force. He also served on the Health and Human Services transition team for Obama-Biden in 2008.
According to tax documents reviewed by the Post — tax filings of 501(c)(3) charities are public records — the Biden Cancer Initiative paid Simon nearly $225,000 in fiscal year 2017 (June 2017 to July 2018), and nearly double that — $430,000 — in 2018 (June 2018 to July 2019). During those two years, the “charity” took in over $4,8 million in donations.
Danielle Carnival, who had been Simon’s Chief of Staff for the Obama “Moon Shot Task Force”, was also employed by the Biden “charity”, and was paid $258,000 in FY 2018. Carnival spent six years on the Obama Administration White House Staff in a variety of positions before departing to join the Biden Cancer Initiative in 2017.
Other than salaries for the top two officials — which consumed more than 25% of all contributions — what else did the “charity” spend money on? According to the Post:
The charity spent $56,738 on conferences and $59,356 on travel that year. The following year, the travel expenditure swelled to $97,149, and the non-profit spent $742,953 on conferences, tax filings show.
That is close to another $1 million in spending over two years.
What did the “charity” not spend money on? Grants supporting cancer research efforts. That box on the IRS tax return for a non-profits lists “$0.00”.
On April 25, 2019, Biden announced his candidacy for the Democrat party’s nomination for President.
On July 15, 2019, only 2 weeks after the end of the “charity’s” fiscal year, it announced it was suspending operations.
The Daily Mail in the UK does a bit more math on the “charity’s” tax filings and finds that over $3 million in spending — of the $4.8 million raised — went to pay salaries and benefits of the organization’s staff. In addition to SImon and Carnival, three other staff positions enjoyed six-figure salaries — the Director of Communications, Director of Science Policy, and Director of Engagement — with two making $150,000+ and the other making $185,000+.
“Other expenses” totaled $1.7 million — meaning that $4.7 million of the $4.8 million raised was spent on “charity” operations.
But Simon’s close connection to Al Gore is also significant in my opinion. It has been reported that Biden intends to name Ron Klain as White House Chief of Staff. For 30 years Klain has been closely associated the Clintons and with Al Gore. Klain also served Joe Biden on the Senate Judiciary staff and led White House judicial confirmation efforts involving the late Justice Ginsburg.
Klain’s elevation, and Biden remaining close to individuals like Greg Simon who trace their lineage back to Clinton-Gore more than the Obama Administration, may suggest some interesting dynamics about to play out on the Democrat side over the next 60 days — If Joe Biden wins the election.
More on Ron Klain soon.