Stop Moving the Goalposts!

Democrats desperate to shield Joe Biden now generally characterize the issue over his corruption as whether Joe received financial benefit from Hunter’s business dealings. (E.g., USA Today, “House Republicans allege that Biden financially benefited from his family’s foreign business dealings, but they have yet to provide evidence showing Biden reaped personal benefits from his family’s overseas affairs.”) Putting aside the fact that there is indeed evidence that some of Hunter’s ill-gotten gains wound up in Joe’s bank accounts, this is the wrong question. Joe Biden needn’t have benefited personally to be guilty of bribery under federal law.

18 U.S. Code § 201 provides:

(b) Whoever—

(2) being a public official or person selected to be a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for:

(A) being influenced in the performance of any official act;
shall be fined under this title or not more than three times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value, whichever is greater, or imprisoned for not more than fifteen years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

It is bribery if a public official (Joe Biden) is influenced in the performance of any official act by a payment to “any other person or entity,” i.e., Hunter or any other Biden relative who, we know, wound up with cash. Thus, for example, if Joe Biden agreed to try to get a Ukrainian prosecutor fired in exchange for payments to Hunter adding up to $1 million, Joe is guilty of bribery. The fact (if it is a fact) that he didn’t get any of the money is completely irrelevant.

There is more to be said about this whole tangled web of corruption, but for now let’s stick to this basic point: it doesn’t matter whether Joe Biden personally got money, and Republicans shouldn’t let Democrats get away with that dodge.

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