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Is Joe Biden’s Brother James Now Being Investigated by ‘the Feds’?

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Joe Biden's younger brother James "Jim" Biden was the subject of a federal investigation disclosed on December 11 2020.

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On December 11 2020, a dubious right wing blog called ThePoliticalInsider.com published an item (“Joe Biden’s Brother Is Being Investigated By The Feds, New Report Says”) which claimed that new information had come to light about the purported financial dealings of James “Jim” Biden — which had sparked some kind of federal investigation into his activities:

On Wednesday [December 9 2020], we reported that the federal government was investigating Hunter Biden over his taxes. Now, a new report has come out stating the federal government is also investigating James Biden, the younger brother of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Authorities in the Western District of Pennsylvania are carrying out a criminal investigation into the hospital business Americore Health, and two sources familiar with the probe told Politico that investigators have been looking into James’ role in the company.

The FBI raided two Americore-owned hospitals earlier this year, over claims of gross financial mismanagement and complaints that it was not running hospitals “in a manner that is consistent with public safety and welfare,” according to one lawsuit. Though James has been called a partner or “principal” in the organization, he has disputed this.

ThePoliticalInsider.com linked to a December 9 2020 Politico.com article (“Justice Department’s interest in Hunter Biden covered more than taxes”) that was centered primarily on Joe Biden’s son, Hunter:

The federal investigation into President-elect Joe Biden’s son Hunter has been more extensive than a statement from Hunter Biden indicates, according to a person with firsthand knowledge of the investigation.

In the article’s third and fourth paragraphs, Jim Biden was mentioned; all information about either Biden (Hunter or James) was provided by unnamed sources:

In addition to Delaware, the securities fraud unit in the Southern District of New York also scrutinized Hunter Biden’s finances, according to the person with direct knowledge of the investigation. The person said that, as of early last year, investigators in Delaware and Washington were also probing potential money laundering and Hunter Biden’s foreign ties. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

In addition to the probe into Hunter Biden, federal authorities in the Western District of Pennsylvania are conducting a criminal investigation of a hospital business in which Joe Biden’s brother James was involved. Federal officials have asked questions about James Biden’s role in the business, according to a second person with direct knowledge of that investigation, who said it remains ongoing.

Politico went on to focus on Hunter Biden and matters related to his “financial ties” to various organizations and entities, before circling back to Jim Biden. According to Politico, the purported investigation with which Jim Biden was associated was both “disputed” and dated back to 2018; it was not initiated in December 2020.

Furthermore, Politico’s reporting that the hospital business Americore Health’s allegations of mismanagement were “unrelated to James Biden,” and that the “exact nature of James Biden’s involvement with Americore” being “disputed” were not a focus of the December 11 2020 ThePoliticalInsider.com piece:

FBI agents, meanwhile, have been asking about James Biden’s dealings with the hospital company Americore Health, an operator of rural hospitals, as part of an investigation based out of the Western District of Pennsylvania, according to the person with direct knowledge of that investigation.

In late January [2020], FBI agents raided an Americore hospital in Ellwood City, Pa., and carted off boxes. The raid, which has been previously reported, followed crippling dysfunction at the hospital.

Americore, which is in bankruptcy, has faced allegations of mismanagement unrelated to James Biden, and it is not clear whether his activities are a focus of the investigation.

The exact nature of James Biden’s involvement with Americore is also disputed.

POLITICO previously reported that [Jim Biden] briefly had an office at the company’s Florida headquarters in 2018. A business card identifying him as a “principal” of Americore was entered into court records in a civil case in Tennessee, but he has disputed that he is a principal of the company.

Former business contacts of James Biden’s have said that he invoked his powerful older brother’s name and influence in the course of his involvement with Americore, though he has disputed their accounts.

In their December 2020 report, ThePoliticalInsider also linked to a March 9 2020 Politico piece about a January 2020 “raid” on offices — but incorrectly identified the date of the reporting as September 2020 because they apparently misreading the American dating system:

A Politico report published in September [2020] quoted sources as saying that James transferred money from Americore to himself in the form of personal loans. Americore filed for bankruptcy in December of 2019, when prosecutors said CEO Grant White “improperly siphoned money from the debtors for his personal benefit.”

Politico’s numerical dating system displayed the article’s date as 03/09/2020, the conventional date format of month/day/year used in the United States, as opposed to the day/month/year format used by much of the rest of the world. Aggregated reporting by Flipboard displayed the March 2020 date.

On March 9 2020, Politico’s report stated that there was no indication the January 2020 search of an Americore hospital in Pennsylvania was related to any of James Biden’s actions, but went on to quote a former Americore executive’s opinion the younger Biden may have “exacerbated” existing problems at the flailing hospital company:

The purpose of the Jan. 30 [2020] raid of an Ellwood City, Pa., hospital remains unclear, and there is no indication it was related to the actions of Biden’s younger brother, who has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing. Its owner, Americore, has faced legal problems and allegations of mismanagement that are unrelated to James Biden. … In 2017 and 2018, James Biden was embarking on a foray into health care investing, telling potential partners, including at Americore, that his last name could open doors and that Joe Biden was excited about the public policy implications of their business models, according to court filings and interviews with James’ former business contacts.

Tom Pritchard, a former Americore executive familiar with the business’ finances, told POLITICO that James Biden’s arrival exacerbated Americore’s financial problems. Holding out the promise of a large investment from the Middle East based on his political connections, James Biden introduced Americore’s founder to his older brother and helped land a bridge loan to Americore from a hedge fund, Pritchard said. But then, Pritchard said, James Biden received a six-figure personal loan out of Americore’s coffers while encouraging the firm to take on greater financial liabilities. The cash infusion from the Middle East never arrived, and, Pritchard says, James Biden has not paid back the loan, the terms of which are unknown.

A recurring theme in the ongoing reporting by Politico was that “James Biden’s venture into health care investing has been surrounded by legal allegations and claims that he invoked his brother’s clout,” allegations James Biden denied. In any event, the “raid” occurred in January 2020, and the Politico report in March 2020 — not September. Although ThePoliticalInsider.com’s mis-dating of the second article could have been an oversight or error by someone unfamiliar with the American dating system, it could also have been intentional, in order to frame old news as new and relevant.

Media Bias/Fact Check described ThePoliticalInsider.com as an “extreme” partisan site with a “low” level of factual reporting:

A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact checked on a per article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the reasoning section for that source.

Overall, we rate The Political Insider Questionable based on Extreme Right-Wing Bias, promotion of conspiracy theories, a lack of transparency, and numerous failed fact checks.

[…]

Editorially, the website does not distinguish at all between opinion and news pieces, which can be misleading. Further, each original news story features extremely right biased commentary from their authors. In general, this is a website that features extremely biased conservative opinions that serve as a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party. Lastly, they are also listed on Politifact’s fake news list.

In short, ThePolticalInsider.com (and other hyperpartisan blogs) claimed on December 11 2020 that President-Elect Joe Biden’s younger brother James “Jim” Biden was the focus of a novel investigation by “the Feds,” citing Politico articles from December 9 and March 9 2020; the latter was falsely labeled as September 2020. The December 2020 piece cited unnamed sources, and both articles indicated that while Jim Biden was linked with Americore, there was “no indication [a raid] was related to the actions of Biden’s younger brother,” and that Jim Biden had “not been accused of criminal wrongdoing.” The March 2020 piece included claims that Jim Biden leveraged his older brother’s “clout” in his business activity, but did not cite any specific wrongdoing related to Jim Biden versus Americore specifically.