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14 Oct, 2020 01:43

Conflict of interest? Biden's son-in-law advises campaign on Covid while profiting from health firms, Politico reports

Conflict of interest? Biden's son-in-law advises campaign on Covid while profiting from health firms, Politico reports

Joe Biden's son-in-law is advising his presidential campaign on Covid-19 response while overseeing investments in healthcare startups, a potential conflict of interest, Politico reported – to the chagrin of its leftist readers.

Howard Krein, who married Ashley Biden in 2012, has been advising her father's campaign on Covid-response policies while at the same time leading investment firm StartUp Health in staking fledgling companies with products or services designed to mitigate, manage or treat the virus, Politico said Tuesday. 

Krein is chief medical officer at StartUp Health, which announced plans in April to invest $1 million across 10 companies focused on Covid-19 solutions in 30 days. The firm was founded by Krein's brother, Chief Executive Steven Krein. Howard Krein also reportedly participates in daily conference calls to brief his father-in-law on health policy amid the pandemic.

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The intersecting roles could create conflicts of interest for a Biden administration or at least the “awkward appearance of Krein profiting from his father-in-law's policies,” Politico said. Companies in which Krein's firm invests could get make-or-break funding or favors from the federal government, as billions of dollars in public health spending are allocated to help fight Covid-19.

Krein already got a small taste of such publicity when the Wall Street Journal reported in July that StartUp Health had received as much as $350,000 in forgivable loans under the government's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). It's unclear how a firm that profits from the healthcare industry would need government help to meet payroll during a medical crisis. President Donald Trump’s campaign has pointed out that Biden bashed the PPP initiative while Krein's firm was privately taking advantage of the program.

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StartUp Health has invested in hundreds of companies, including dozens related to pandemic response. Krein, who joined the firm in 2011, the year after he began dating Biden's daughter, was then billed by StartUp Health as a White House adviser.

Seeing such a potential conflict of interest being reported by left-leaning Politico might be seen as a refreshing dose of balance by some, but Twitter users blasted the media outlet for interrupting the mainstream media's steady flow of anti-Trump coverage. One commenter tweeted: “F**k off with this,” while another told Politico to “delete your sorry account.”

Hundreds of commenters pointed to alleged conflicts of interest in the Trump family, including those involving his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Many also felt betrayed that Politico would report possible wrongdoing involving the Democrat presidential candidate. “Stop it now,” one such observer said. “We are being robbed blind by the impeached thing's family. Why are you doing this? I trusted you.”

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