The Biden campaign disavowed a report that the Democratic presidential nominee’s son-in-law, Howard Krein’s activities would pose potential conflict-of-interest concerns.
Krein has continued his work at an investment firm overseeing health care solutions to the CCP Virus (coronavirus) while also advising the Biden campaign on the pandemic, according to a Politico report published on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
“Krein simultaneously advising the campaign and venturing into Covid investing could pose conflict-of-interest concerns for a Biden administration or simply create the awkward appearance of Krein profiting off his father-in-law’s policies,” wrote Politico.
“Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the federal government has directed tens of billions of dollars in coronavirus medical spending in areas like testing and vaccine research to private firms,” it added.
Krein, a Philadelphia-based surgeon, serves as the chief medical officer of StartUp Health, which was founded in 2011.
The outlet noted that in 2018 one StartUp Health fund raked in $31 million from investors, including the Swiss drugmaker Novartis and the Chinese insurer Ping An. The firm also works with Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent as a “co-investor” in its cancer projects.
Since its founding, StartUp Health has had close ties with the Obama administration, which described Krein at the time as a White House adviser.
In his book “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite,” conservative commentator and Breitbart News contributor Peter Schweizer raised concerns about Krein’s activities.
“It’s sad that Politico is recycling baseless accusations and innuendo from a discredited right-wing ‘journalist’ like Peter Schweizer,” Biden campaign spokesman Mike Gwin said.
Gwin also pointed to remarks given by Biden in 2019 in response to questions on his involvement with businesses owned by or associated with his family members.
“I have never discussed, with my son or my brother or with anyone else, anything having to do with their businesses. Period,” Biden said at the time.
“And what I will do is the same thing we did in our administration,” he continued. “There will be an absolute wall between personal and private [business interests] and the government. There wasn’t any hint of scandal at all when we were there. And I’m going to propose the same kind of strict, strict rules. That’s why I never talked with my son or my brother or anyone else—even distant family—about their business interests. Period.”
However, Biden himself helped Krein obtained a meeting with then-President Barack Obama in 2011, following which the company launch was announced at the White House, as TheBL reported.
While Biden criticized President Trump for not helping companies with fewer than 20 employees enough, Krein’s firm, which has 18 workers, obtained a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan of between $150,000 to $350,000 to help support his employees.
“Is Joe Biden dishonest or just out to lunch? While his son-in-law’s company received a PPP loan to support the workers at his small business, Biden falsely claimed the program only helped big corporations,” said Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 director of communications.
“Now we know he was publicly bashing the program while his son-in-law—an adviser he talked to daily—was privately taking advantage of it. It’s certainly plausible that Biden had no clue what was going on right under his nose, but now that this hypocrisy has come to light Biden needs to come clean. He should admit that he knew about the loan and lied about the program anyway, or call on his family to return the money to the taxpayers,” he added.