We hear a lot of talk about a quid pro quo these days. It is a very benign term unless it is weaponized. Every negotiation is generally founded on a quid pro quo. When a union negotiator says: If you give my workers a raise, we will end the strike. In most cases, negotiating a quid pro quo is quite acceptable – even a good thing.
But it can also be a bad thing – an illegal thing – like when that Mafia enforces says: “Give me the dough or your business will be burned to the ground – or worse.” That quid pro quo is what is known as a criminal shakedown. If you offer a campaign contribution to get a member of Congress to vote your way … that quid pro quo is a bribe.
At the center of our political maelstrom are two questions. Did President Trump discuss a quid pro quo with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky? And if so, was it a good quid pro quo or a bad one? That debate will carry on for months to come as the impeachment and Senate trial move forward.
There is also a controversy over two other quid pro quos. Those involve the Bidens.
We know of one of those because then Vice President Joe Biden bragged about it. He told the previous Ukrainian leaders that unless they replaced their chief federal prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, the United States would not be providing the war-torn nation with $2 billion in funding approved by the Congress.
According to the biased narrative being proffered in the elitist anti-Trump press is that Biden’s quid pro quo was for a good purpose and Trump’s was for personal gain – launching an investigation into the Bidens in the hope of finding something untoward. Some even claim that Trump wanted the Ukrainians to invent dirt on the Bidens – although nothing in the phone call or the subsequent testimony even hints at that bit of politic mud.
Biden claims that his quid pro quo was to help defeat corruption in Ukraine – which was rampant in the old regime. But Trump makes the same claim – that the investigation of the Bidens was part of a larger investigation. Though the media refuses to consider that possibility – and even calls it “crazy,” “ridiculous” and even a “debunked conspiracy theory” – there is a reasonable case to be made.
While Shokin may have been a corrupt official in the eyes of the western community, he WAS investigating the Ukrainian energy giant Burisma Holdings and its oligarch boss, Mykola Zlochevsky. They were considered to be part of the corrupt infrastructure – accused of tax violations, money-laundering and licenses improperly given to Burisma while Zlochevsky also served as a government minister.
Enter Hunter Biden.
Fresh out of the Navy, Hunter joined the board of Burisma in 2014 – while his father was Vice President of the United States and assigned by President Obama to oversee all matters Ukrainian. It was a year in which Ukraine had three presidents — Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in a revolution, Oleksandr Turchynov served as acting president until the swearing in of Petro Poroshenko. All three were oligarchs associated with Ukrainian corruption. Poroshenko was subsequently defeated in the 2019 election that brought reformer Zelensky to power. It is noteworthy that Hunter served on the board of Burisma for the last five years that Ukraine was controlled by the corrupt oligarchs.
That is more than enough to raise questions about Hunter’s Ukrainian activities – but there is much more. The only concern raised by the senior Biden was his comment to his son: “I hope you know what you are doing.” It might have been more enlightening for we the people to know what Hunter was doing – and it is still an open question that needs to be answered.
Joe Biden expresses irritation when there is any suggestion that his son should be investigated. He claims that the issue has been looked into and Hunter and he have done nothing wrong. After the new prosecutor was put in place – the one promoted by Vice President Biden in return for U.S. foreign aid — the matter was dropped. There was never any real investigation.
None of the questions hanging over the Bidens have been answered. That seems to be a good enough reason to include Hunter’s activities in Ukraine among the larger concerns about corruption. Democrats argue that Biden and his son should not be investigated because it would be political – and harmful to Joe’s presidential campaign. But it is also fair to argue that the Bidens should not be exempt from investigation just because his dad happens to be running for President.
We still do not know what Hunter knew about the inner workings of Burisma. Since the company was widely believed to be corrupt, what was Hunter’s role? As a board member, he had a fiduciary responsibility to be informed and to act against improper activities. Was he, and did he?
This is where we can see a second quid pro quo that is being generally overlooked. What was the quid pro quo that Zlochevsky and Burisma expected by putting Hunter on their board? Any time a major corporation puts a person on the board, they expect them to bring tangible benefits – professional, intellectual, financial. So, what was Zlochevsky expecting of Hunter?
At the time Hunter was named to the board of Burisma he was running a consulting business with former Secretary of State John Kerry’s son. Hunter – personally or professionally – had no business experience in the energy sector – much less in a foreign nation. Hunter has no discernable ties to or experience in Ukrainian affairs. Hunter was not a source of investment capital. On top of everything, Hunter had a messy personal life with issues of drug and alcohol addiction. None of these facts would make him remotely a likely choice for the position he was given.
In addition, Hunter was provided with a wage and benefit package worth more than $1 million per year – for essentially what was a very part-time job. That is a lot of quid. It has also been reported that Hunter never attended any meetings in Ukraine during the five years he served on the board. He did, however, arrange high-level State Department meetings with Burisma officials even as the company was under investigation.
The ONLY asset Hunter brought to the board of Burisma was the fact that his father was not only Vice President but was assigned responsibility for Ukrainian affairs by Obama. It is difficult to imagine that Hunter was anything more than a conduit to his father and the Obama administration.
If that connection was the reason for Hunter to be on the board with that exceptional income, then what were the specific “quos” for all that quid?
And this is not the only time that Joe Biden paved the way for Hunter to receive extraordinary consideration from a foreign nation. Hunter joined his father aboard Air Force Two for a trip to China in which the younger Biden’s company scored a billion-dollar deal through connections with the Chinese government essentially arranged by his father.
The Democrat/media narrative that there is nothing to see in the Bidens’ involvement in Ukraine is nothing less than political cover. No matter how many times they try to sell it to the public, it fails to pass the smell test. If ever there was a situation in need of a thorough investigation – this is it.
So, there ‘tis.