In 2014, Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, allegedly paid a powerful consulting firm to make edits to his Wikipedia page, according to emails obtained by journalist Lee Fang from Hunter Biden’s laptop. The emails reveal that Biden reached out to FTI Consulting, a public relations and lobbying company, to request changes to his page. He provided a list of desired edits and connected his contact at FTI, Ryan Toohey, to Eric Schwerin, Biden’s partner at his firm Rosemont Seneca.
The requested edits included removing any mention of his association with disgraced financier Allen Stanford. Stanford Financial Group had a joint venture with Paradigm Global Advisors, a hedge fund owned by the Biden family. Hunter Biden served as CEO of Paradigm Global Advisors with the assistance of his uncle James Biden for five years. However, Stanford is currently serving a 110-year prison sentence for running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
Another requested edit was to delete references to Hunter Biden’s work with Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm. This particular topic has garnered significant attention due to its connection to allegations of corruption involving the Biden family. Moreover, Biden wanted to remove any mention of his ties to the CIA through his work with the National Endowment for Democracy, which is considered a CIA cutout.
Toohey confirmed in an email response that the desired edits had been made and assured Biden and Schwerin that they would keep an eye on the page for any future changes. Subsequently, the Wikipedia article underwent several edits that removed references to Allen Stanford and polished the page to present a more favorable image of Hunter Biden.
Furthermore, an editor named ‘Earflaps,’ who had been involved in enhancing Biden’s entry, was exposed as a “sockpuppet” or alternate account of a paid editor. This editor’s services were believed to have been contracted by Russian oligarchs or PR firms working for them, according to an on-site investigation called ‘The oligarchs’ socks.’
Since those edits took place, Hunter Biden’s Wikipedia article has grown substantially but remains favorable. The introduction of the article goes to great lengths to clarify the authenticity of the emails found on Biden’s laptop and defends the Bidens against “false allegations of corrupt activities in a Biden-Ukraine conspiracy theory” since 2019.
Analysis of the article’s edit history highlights several editors, such as ‘Specifico,’ ‘Objective3000,’ and ‘Neutrality,’ known for enforcing conformity to the neoliberal centrist viewpoint that Wikipedia administrators have chosen to be the standard of neutrality in articles related to American politics. This alignment has been criticized by Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger in a recent interview.
It appears that the efforts of paid editors nearly a decade ago to remove any mention of Allen Stanford and his pyramid scheme from the article were successful, as the financier is not referenced anywhere in the text.
In conclusion, the leaked emails suggest that Hunter Biden engaged a high-profile consulting firm to make favorable edits to his Wikipedia page in 2014. The requested changes aimed to remove any associations with Allen Stanford, downplay his work with Burisma, and delete references to his ties with the CIA. The article’s favorability and subsequent edits have faced scrutiny, with some editors being accused of having conflicts of interest.