One of the first things that Republicans are likely to do after they take control of the House of Representatives on January 3rd is to launch investigations into Joe Biden’s son Hunter and whether he used his father’s name and influence in some shady dealings. There is a laptop involved that purportedly has evidence of this. It is being portrayed as either a storm in a teacup or a big deal. These hearings are going to be a rerun of the notorious Benghazi hearings from 2014 to 2016.
If there is a prima facie case that Joe and Hunter Biden behaved illegally or even unethically, then of course it should be investigated. It seems very plausible that Hunter Biden used his connections to advance his own fortunes. Hunter Biden was appointed to a lucrative position on the board of directors of the Ukrainian oil company Burisma while his father was vice-president, even though he has little or no experience in that industry.
But people taking advantage of their relationship to politically powerful people is a long-standing practice in Washington, not to mention some congresspeople themselves taking advantage of the inside knowledge they have about pending legislation and actions to enrich themselves. A majority of members of Congress are millionaires. While some of them were wealthy before they entered Congress or are married to wealthy people, others became so, or increased their wealth substantially, after they were elected. After leaving Congress, many become lobbyists, making even more money.
One notable campaign promise that Trump made in his 2016 run was to ‘drain the swamp’ of such corrupt practices and suggested various ethics reforms. That resonated strongly with voters, many of whom suspect that corruption is rife. But in typical Trump style, after he got elected, that promise was ignored. In fact, he, his family, and his businesses were shameless about using his office to enrich themselves. In his speech announcing his intention to run again in 2024, he again resurrected his promise to attack entrenched interests and massive corruption in Washington.
Congress is a cess pool of influence peddling and if the Hunter Biden investigation is part of a general cleaning up of these odious practices, then it is to be welcomed. But I doubt that Republicans have anything so sweeping in mind, since they have so many skeletons in their closets, the most glaring examples being the Trump family’s behavior during the Trump presidency. They will likely use these hearings as a noise generating platform to undermine Joe Biden while avoiding taking any general concrete measures.