Amid the brouhaha over President Joe Biden’s improper retention of classified documents and concerns that his son, Hunter Biden, had access to them, a 2018 form on which Hunter Biden claims to have spent nearly $50,000 a month on rent surfaced from the presidential son’s abandoned laptop.
On it, Hunter Biden lists his father’s Wilmington house as his address, raising questions about whether he was using rent payments to pass money to his father. The money, $49,910, was actually a reference to rental payment for a Washington, D.C., office space used by Hunter Biden. But the story of the document is more absurd, involving Biden family favor trading, scorned relatives, and an ultimately failed effort to get Hunter Biden’s troubled cousin a new probation officer.
The Washington Free Beacon traced the origin of the document to an attachment in a July 27, 2018, email from Hunter Biden to a luxury apartment complex in Los Angeles. The background check document was part of a rental application, and—though his communications with the building’s property manager indicated the apartment would be for him—text messages and emails on Hunter Biden’s laptop reveal it was in fact for his down-on-her-luck cousin, Caroline Biden, the daughter of Joe Biden’s brother Jim and his wife, Sara.
The president’s niece pleaded guilty in 2017 to buying more than $100,000 worth of makeup with a stolen credit card. While she managed to skirt a grand larceny charge and the prison sentence it carried, she was sentenced to two years of probation—time she wanted to serve in Los Angeles.
She texted Hunter Biden on July 26, 2018, from a New York City probation office, telling him she urgently needed a California address so her lawyer could transfer her probation there.
Keeping Caroline Biden out of prison was a Biden family affair and Hunter Biden was at the center of the effort. He moved to the West Coast at least in part to escape family drama, he explained in a July 17 message, saying his sister-in-law and former lover Hallie Biden had asked him to leave the state of Delaware. His day to day in California, text messages and passages from his 2021 autobiography reveal, was largely spent cooking up batches of crack cocaine and negotiating rates with prostitutes. But Joe Biden, according to a text from Caroline Biden to Hunter Biden, thought Hunter Biden was a "good influence" on her.
"Your dad thinks you’re a good influence which you are," she wrote in a text message to Hunter Biden on July 20, 2018.
In text messages, Caroline Biden repeatedly referred to Hunter Biden as her "partner in crime," and the pair commiserated over their "sick" family. She was trying to move to California to be closer to him.
Hunter Biden, Caroline Biden said, was the only family member she felt she could talk to, because "the majority of my family thinks I’m nuts and untalktoable." She complained that "our family’s sick," that she had "no relationship with my nuclear family," and that she had to "do everything on my fucking own," including finding a place to live in California.
That said, Caroline Biden does not appear to have been doing much on her own. Before Caroline Biden reached out to Hunter Biden for help, her father, Jim Biden, had asked Hunter Biden for help with the situation. "I need help with Caroline, she is off the rails," Jim Biden told Hunter Biden in a July 13 message.
The idea to have Caroline Biden move to California appears to have been hatched in a follow-up conversation between Jim and Hunter Biden, but it was on Hunter Biden to deliver. Hunter Biden told Jim Biden as early as July 16 that he was looking for rentals in Laguna for his daughter. But by the time of Caroline Biden’s probation meeting when she messaged Hunter Biden about the address, he had still failed to secure a place.
"Hunter, parole officer needs Caroline’s address in CA in order to transfer to CA," Sara Biden wrote to him on July 27. "Caroline also just said she needs to accept job by end of day today and tell them when she can start."
Shortly after hearing from Sara Biden, Hunter Biden directed his assistant, Katie Dodge, to fill out a rental application on his behalf for an apartment at a luxury complex, the Villa Carlotta, a self-described "residential hideaway for free spirits drawn to the iconoclastic energy of bohemian Los Angeles." He told Dodge she had 45 minutes to complete the task. Although the apartment was for his cousin, Hunter Biden told the property manager that he wanted to move into the unit that evening. I "only ha e [sic] a few bags," he said in an email.
That form, now the subject of intrigue, was riddled with erroneous declarations, including Hunter Biden’s claim to have paid $49,910 in monthly rent. The figure matches the down payment his firm paid for Washington, D.C., office space at the beginning of its lease, as well as the amount the firm paid quarterly to rent the office space in the House of Sweden building on K Street, according to emails with the office building.
It is unclear whether Hunter Biden and his assistant meant to imply the money was for housing, and neither Hunter Biden nor Dodge responded to a request for comment. The form also declares that Hunter Biden had never been convicted of a crime or had a charge expunged from his record, though on at least one occasion he was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and had the charge expunged from his record.
The property manager, who did not respond to requests for comment, did not approve the Bidens for the apartment.
Jim Biden also asked his nephew to convince Caroline Biden to accept a job, another term of her transfer to California. But Caroline Biden, who at 31 had only had cushy jobs secured by her family and had no intention of lowering her standards.
Emails show she was a candidate for a job from Masimo Corporation, a California company owned by one of Joe Biden’s largest donors, with an $85,000 base salary, a guaranteed 10 percent bonus, and stock options. She was hesitant, she said, because the pay was insufficient.
"That’s below minimum wage in California after taxes," she told her father in an email. "I cannot take this job. I have never made this little money in my life." Caroline Biden said she couldn’t take a job for "less than $180,000."
Caroline Biden appears to have interviewed for the job, but "bombed" the interview, telling Hunter Biden that she was nonetheless offered an internship because Joe Biden asked for a favor. "I didn’t get the job," she told her cousin. "I was given an intern job at 31 years old because of your dad asking him to give me something even though I bombed it."
By July 28, a dejected Caroline Biden told Hunter Biden that Joe Biden was "done" with her. And Jim Biden was losing his patience too. "Your dad told me he was done with me yesterday," she said, adding that her father wasn’t going to let her go to California to see Hunter Biden without a place to stay. "Dad said he won’t let me come back until I have a place to stay and a car," she wrote. "He’s not ‘paying for me to be out there for 6 weeks doing nothing.’"
Hunter Biden told his "crazy" cousin that everything would be fine. "Dont stress about the job shithead," he said in a series of late night texts. "You are crazy im crazy and two crazies make…double the cray I guess. It’ll be fun we may just blow up a house and rob banks together."
Hunter Biden’s efforts to get his cousin to California were a failure, and then he fell off the map. His uncle Jim Biden badgered him for help with his daughter for the next week, but Hunter Biden blew him off. "Did I do something to offend you?" Jim Biden wrote in a text message to Hunter on Aug. 8.
What Caroline Biden did next is unclear, but it appears she never left Pennsylvania: She was arrested for driving under the influence in the state in September 2020, but managed to avoid serving time after negotiating a plea bargain.