Hunter Biden helped former Biden aide with House campaign while working with his CCP-tied business partner

Then-Vice President Biden hosted at least four fundraisers and campaign events for Fran Person in 2016

FIRST ON FOX: Hunter Biden and his longtime business partner Eric Schwerin were actively working behind the scenes in 2016 to solicit donations for a top former Biden adviser's congressional campaign while also working on Chinese business deals with the adviser's business partner, according to emails reviewed and authenticated by Fox News Digital.

Francis "Fran" Person, who served in the Obama administration as an adviser to then-Vice President Biden and a special assistant to President Obama between 2009 and 2014, left the White House in late July 2014 for an advisory role at the University of South Carolina, his alma mater, before becoming the president of the Harves Group less than six months later in January 2015, according to his Linkedin profile that was deleted within the last three weeks.

Person frequently emailed with Hunter and Schwerin of the now-defunct Rosemont Seneca Partners about business dealings associated with the Harves Group in 2015 and 2016, and he made multiple visits to the White House during that time, including attending a White House holiday reception in December 2015 with Bo Zhang, the Chinese executive who founded the Harves Group and has ties to officials at some of the highest levels of the Communist Party of China.

Person, whose sister worked for Hunter and Schwerin before joining Vice President Biden's office as a personal assistant in 2014, previously told Fox News Digital that his visits to the White House were "personal in nature."

JOE BIDEN MET WITH AT LEAST 14 OF HUNTER'S BUSINESS ASSOCIATES WHILE VICE PRESIDENT

President Biden purportedly left for his son Hunter Biden about his overseas business dealings, maintaining that any materials that allegedly originated from his son’s now-infamous laptop would not be discussed.

President Biden purportedly left for his son Hunter Biden about his overseas business dealings, maintaining that any materials that allegedly originated from his son’s now-infamous laptop would not be discussed. (Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

On Feb. 29, 2016, Person announced that he was seeking the Democratic nomination to unseat Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C. One day after the announcement, Hunter introduced George Duko, an executive at DuPont, to Zhang in an email, with Person and Zhang's aunt Bcc'd on the email, discussing a potential business partnership between DuPont and Harves.

"Their reputation is impeccable, and they have strong local, provincial, and national level government relationships - specifically in Shenzhen - which is essential in getting any major project done," Hunter said, hyping up Harves Century Group's connections to the Chinese government.

In March 2016, Hunter Biden emailed an executive at DuPont to introduce him to Bo Zhang, the chairman at Harves Investment Group, and hyped up the Chinese parent company's connections to "national level government relationships."

In March 2016, Hunter Biden emailed an executive at DuPont to introduce him to Bo Zhang, the chairman at Harves Investment Group, and hyped up the Chinese parent company's connections to "national level government relationships." (Fox News Digital)

Two days after that, on March 3, 2016, Schwerin introduced Person to Jeff Cooper, a business associate of his and Hunter's. Person later thanked Schwerin in an email for making the introduction and said that due to his own "close relationship with VP Biden," the expectation "is very high for me to be a well funded candidate." Cooper would later donate $2,700 to Fran's campaign in October of that year.

In March 2016, days after former Joe Biden adviser Fran Person announced he was running for Congress in South Carolina, Hunter Biden's business partner, Eric Schwerin, introduced him to one of their business associates to help him with his campaign.

In March 2016, days after former Joe Biden adviser Fran Person announced he was running for Congress in South Carolina, Hunter Biden's business partner, Eric Schwerin, introduced him to one of their business associates to help him with his campaign. (Fox News Digital)

Later that month, on March 30, 2016, Hunter held a meeting with Zhang, the chairman and CEO of Harves, according to an email of his schedule from Rosemont Seneca Vice President Joan Mayer. 

HUNTER BIDEN, FORMER BIDEN AIDE INVESTED IN CHINESE COMPANY TIED TO COMMUNIST PARTY, NBA CHINA

Less than three weeks later, on April 17, 2016, Schwerin sent an email to Tara Greco, who was serving as the director of communications for the National Basketball Players Association, Hunter, Zhang, and Person’s "HarvesGroup.com" email address that included an attached document titled, "NBA China event concept DRAFT updated."

"You’ll notice on slide 4, it mentions a ‘Proposed Sports Facility’ concept.  This is something new we haven’t discussed with you, but Tara [Greco] has learned that AEG has a deal with the NBA to build NBA branded stadiums around China," Schwerin wrote in the email. "Only two have been built to date and the project seems to have stalled but we want to research this further because if Liaoning can get one of these stadiums that would be a big help in your efforts to get more NBA related content in Liaoning."

In April 2016, Eric Schwerin emailed Bo Zhang, Hunter Biden, Fran Person, and others about a potential opportunity to build a NBA stadium in China and bring more "NBA related content in Liaoning."

In April 2016, Eric Schwerin emailed Bo Zhang, Hunter Biden, Fran Person, and others about a potential opportunity to build a NBA stadium in China and bring more "NBA related content in Liaoning." (Fox News Digital)

FOX Business previously reported on Zhang's ties to Liaoning. In a December 2013 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing with the Justice Department, Zhang is listed as the "Foreign Principal" and the filing noted his relationship with Chinese Government Official, Liu Guoqiang, who was the Vice Chairman of the Liaoning Committee of the "Chinese People's Political Conservative [sic] Conference (CPPCC) People's Republic of China."

The Diplomat reported last year that the CPPCC is a "key part" of China’s "United Front" work and that it is "designed to liaise with non-Communist Party members – and ultimately see them work with the CCP to advance its interests." Guoqiang was reportedly expelled from the Communist Party of China last year for taking bribes and other violations of the party's laws.

On May 4, 2016, Hunter, Schwerin and Zhang traveled to Wilmington, Delaware, to meet with Duko of DuPont. 

Fox News Digital asked Duko in an email whether he recalled the name Fran Person coming up in the conversation during their Wilmington meeting, or whether Hunter, Schwerin, or Zhang pitched any other business deals to DuPont in China.

"I did meet with Hunter at their request, they wanted to discuss land we were in the process of selling at that time," Duko told Fox News Digital in a Tuesday email. "The transaction was already under contract to be sold and I informed Hunter that we would be proceeding with the transaction as planned.  We did not and have not discussed any other business dealings since that meeting. I do not recall the name Fran Person."

Bo Zhang, pictured here, met with Hunter Biden and Eric Schwerin several times while his business partner, Fran Person, was running for Congress in 2016. 

Bo Zhang, pictured here, met with Hunter Biden and Eric Schwerin several times while his business partner, Fran Person, was running for Congress in 2016.  (Harves Investment Group/ YouTube Screenshot)

During this same time, Hunter was sending email pitches to raise money for Person's unsuccessful congressional bid, where Person received $2,700 each from Schwerin and Hunter, including $1,000 from then-Second Lady Jill Biden. Zhang and his mother, Jinglan Shao, both maxed out to Person’s campaign with two $2,700 donations each. 

In a Politico profile piece on Person's departure from the White House in 2014, the second lady was quoted saying, "Fran has been like a son to Joe and me. For eight years, we traveled the country, shared holidays together … Fran may be leaving the office, but he will always be a part of our family."

One of the people Hunter reached out to was Brian Steel, a CNBC executive from 2007 until 2021. In September 2016, Steel made a revealing admission in his response to Hunter's email asking him if he could donate to Person's campaign.

"I look forward to seeing you on Monday. I’d love to support Fran but unfortunately as the EVP of CNBC I’m not allowed to donate to political campaigns," Steel wrote. "In year[s] past I would get around that by having my wife donate but after CNBC hosted a controversial/aggressive republican primary debate earlier this year Breibart [sic] and Rush Limbaugh outed me as the husband of a ‘max’ Hillary donor so I can’t even have Eileen donate any more."

In September 2016, a CNBC executive who has since left the network, told Hunter Biden he was "not allowed" to donate to political campaigns like Fran Person's campaign and revealed that he used to "get around" that policy by getting his wife to donate, but noted the loophole was exposed by Breitbart and Rush Limbaugh.

In September 2016, a CNBC executive who has since left the network, told Hunter Biden he was "not allowed" to donate to political campaigns like Fran Person's campaign and revealed that he used to "get around" that policy by getting his wife to donate, but noted the loophole was exposed by Breitbart and Rush Limbaugh. (Fox News Digital)

On May 6, 2016, two days after the DuPont meeting, Hunter referred to Zhang as his "good friend and business colleague" in an email, which was verified by Fox News Digital, to Henry Zhao, a Chinese Communist Party official and CEO of Harvest Fund Management, according to the New York Post. The Post reported in January that Zhao’s fund participated in a Chinese investment fund called Bohai Harvest RST, where Hunter served as a founding board member until October 2019.

Hunter Biden introduced his "good friend and business colleague" Bo Zhang  in May 2016 to a Chinese business associate of his and mentioned a potential "partnership" between Harvest and Harves.

Hunter Biden introduced his "good friend and business colleague" Bo Zhang  in May 2016 to a Chinese business associate of his and mentioned a potential "partnership" between Harvest and Harves. (Fox News Digital)

Less than three weeks later, on May 26, 2016, Hunter sent an email to his contacts inviting them to a June 9 fundraiser for Person in D.C., writing, "Most of you know what Fran Person means to me and my family and we are excited to support him in his run for Congress."

According to the fundraiser invitation that was posted on the campaign's Facebook page, several of President Biden's current top White House aides were on the host committee of the fundraiser in 2016, including White House chief of staff Ron Klain, senior adviser Mike Donilon, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, deputy chief of staff Bruce Reed, and the director of Oval Office operations, Annie Tomasini, among others. Politico Playbook said the next morning that "more than 100 former and current White House aides" were in attendance.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his wife, Evan Ryan, who is currently serving as the White House cabinet secretary, also donated a combined $8,100 to Person's campaign in 2016. President Biden's wife, Jill; sister, Valerie; brother-in-law, Jack; brother, James; nieces, Casey and Missy; and son, Hunter, also donated thousands of dollars to Person's campaign in 2016.

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The next month, on June 15, 2016, Hunter and Schwerin met Zhang for dinner, according to Hunter’s schedule. One month later, on July 14, 2016, Hunter, Schwerin, and Zhang met with the real estate investment firm Buccini/Pollin Group in Wilmington, Delaware, according to Hunter’s schedule.

Hunter’s assistant later sent an email to Hunter and Schwerin about a call on July 25, 2016, with Zhang and the "Buccinis," which refers to Robert and Christopher Buccini of Buccini/Pollin Group. On the same day as the meeting, Schwerin sent a PDF with an email subject line, "Harves Deck," to Hunter and Robert and Christopher Buccini. Neither Buccini has been implicated in any professional or criminal misconduct.

Fran Person, a former adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, unsuccessfully is ran for Congress in South Carolina's 5th Congressional District in 2016.

Fran Person, a former adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, unsuccessfully is ran for Congress in South Carolina's 5th Congressional District in 2016. (Fran Person/YouTube screenshot)

On Sept. 12, 2016, Person’s campaign hosted Vice President Biden for a lunch fundraiser in Fort Mill, South Carolina. During the event, Biden said Person has the "heart of a lion" and a "moral compass that has a true north."

Less than two weeks later, Hunter sent an email to his Delaware contacts letting them know that Vice President Biden would be hosting another fundraiser for Person at Wilmington Country Club. One of the people who responded and donated $5,400 to Person's campaign, the max amount, was Robert Buccini, who met with Zhang, Hunter, and Schwerin earlier that summer to discuss Harves. Buccini did not respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment on whether he discussed Harves with Person at the fundraiser.

Hunter Biden sent out an email to dozens of his Delaware friends and business contacts in September 2016, inviting them to a fundraiser for Fran Person's House campaign at the Wilmington Country Club. He also noted then-Vice President Biden was hosting the fundraiser.

Hunter Biden sent out an email to dozens of his Delaware friends and business contacts in September 2016, inviting them to a fundraiser for Fran Person's House campaign at the Wilmington Country Club. He also noted then-Vice President Biden was hosting the fundraiser. (Fox News Digital)

Biden would attend at least two more South Carolina campaign events for Person on Nov. 1, 2016 in Sumpter and Rock Hill, which were reported as "Get Out the Vote" rallies. Person, a Democrat, went unopposed in the primary but ended up losing the election to Mulvaney on Nov. 8, 2016.

Fox News Digital reached out to Person's former campaign manager, Joseph Diver, who is currently the chief of staff for vulnerable Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, and his former finance director, Jennifer (Franklyn) Burnett, asking if Person took a leave of absence from Harves during the campaign, whether Hunter or Schwerin were acting on Person's behalf at Harves during the campaign, or if Zhang attended any campaign events or communicated with Person during the campaign, but they did not respond. It does not appear that they were involved with any Harves-related discussions based on emails reviewed by Fox News Digital.

HUNTER BIDEN ASSOCIATE VISITED OBAMA-BIDEN WHITE HOUSE 7 TIMES AFTER BECOMING HEAD OF COMPANY WITH CCP TIES

Harves Century Group, the China-based entity owned by Zhang's parents and managed by his mom, is backed by the state-owned China Development Bank. It is the parent company of multiple U.S.-based Harves affiliates, including Harves Investment Group (HIG), Harves Sports, and Harves Global Entertainment, where Person is now the CEO, according to his now-deleted LinkedIn. 

FOX Business previously reported that Hunter's private equity firm, Rosemont Seneca Advisors, held financial interests in multiple Harves affiliates, including a 5 percent stake with Harves Amusement Parks and ownership in Harves Sports and Entertainment, both of which fall under the D.C.-based Harves Group. Person previously told Fox News Digital that "Hunter Biden, Rosemont Seneca Advisors or any affiliate or associate have never held any equity in any Harves affiliated company," but when asked to elaborate in the most recent media inquiry, he did not respond.

Hunter Biden's business partner, Eric Schwerin, sent him an email in March 2017 listing Hunter's LLC's ownership interests and project descriptions, which included multiple Harves affiliates.

Hunter Biden's business partner, Eric Schwerin, sent him an email in March 2017 listing Hunter's LLC's ownership interests and project descriptions, which included multiple Harves affiliates. (Fox News Digital)

The earliest email that Fox News Digital has reviewed involving Hunter Biden and the Harves Group dates back to July 2015, when Person, then the president of the Harves Group, invited him to meet Zhang and his family in China. Neither Person or Zhang have been implicated in any professional or criminal misconduct. 

"Bo Zhang and his family would host us," Person wrote in the email. "They are a great family with great respect and relationships in China. Bo graduated from American Univ and is in his late 20's, and his parents own Harves Century Group of Shenyang - which is a top tier private chinese real estate development firm."

Person's email went on to say that Zhang is "being groomed to take over his family’s dynasty" and that the trip wasn’t about selling Biden on anything, but more about "grow[ing] that relationship," adding that "there will be plenty of big things that come down the road that we can work on."

In July 2015, Fran Person invited Hunter Biden to China for a week to meet Bo Zhang and his family, noting that Bo Zhang was being "groomed to take over his family's dynasty" in China.

In July 2015, Fran Person invited Hunter Biden to China for a week to meet Bo Zhang and his family, noting that Bo Zhang was being "groomed to take over his family's dynasty" in China. (Fox News Digital)

"His mom is actually the Chairman of the company, which is unique in China," Person wrote. "They are very private, and wouldn't tell anyone about you coming. Bo's father-in-law is actually the Governor of Hainan (Chinese Hawaii), which he doesn't advertise at all."

Zhang's father-in-law, Liu Cigui, was later elected as the Communist Party secretary of the Hainan province in 2017. 

He is considered a "loyalist" of Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

It does not appear that Hunter could make the China trip that Person had pitched him on in 2015. However, multiple emails reviewed by Fox News Digital showed that Person and Zhang had met with Hunter and Schwerin on numerous occasions after that email and discussed Harves-related business opportunities.

President Joe Biden speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Kentucky to view flood damage, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Dover Air Force Base, Del. 

President Joe Biden speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Kentucky to view flood damage, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Dover Air Force Base, Del.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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The investigation into Hunter’s tax affairs, which began in 2018, has reached a "critical stage," a source told Fox News Digital last month. Officials are looking into whether to charge the first son with various tax violations and possible foreign lobbying violations.

A source previously told Fox News Digital that the federal grand jury looking into Hunter’s business dealings wrapped up its latest term in late June but said no charges have been filed. Hunter has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Fox News Digital reached out to Hunter's attorney in the investigation, Christopher Clark, asking whether Hunter had an arrangement with Person to fill in for him at Harves during the campaign, or whether Hunter still has equity in any of the Harves affiliates, but he did not respond.

Person, Zhang, Schwerin, and the White House also did not respond to a series of questions from Fox News Digital.

Fox News' Joe Schoffstall contributed to this report.