White House

Firm Co-Founded by Biden Cabinet Nominees Scrubs China Work from Website

President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines speaks at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Del., November 24, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

A Washington, D.C. consulting firm co-founded by two of Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees scrubbed references to its work in China from its website shortly after Biden won the Democratic nomination over the summer.

WestExec Advisors lists among its co-founders Anthony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, and Michèle Flournoy a former Pentagon official who is Biden’s nominee for secretary of defense. At least two more upcoming Biden administration executives have also worked for WestExec, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki and Avril Haines, a former WestExec principal and Biden’s nominee for director of national intelligence.

The firm, whose team consists of dozens of former high-level government officials, boasts of “bringing the Situation Room to the Board Room” and helping American institutions do business successfully with both the U.S. government and China.

In late July, WestExec’s website was still touting its work assisting “U.S. research universities” in “expanding foreign research collaboration, accepting foreign donations, and welcoming foreign students in key STEM programs” all while remaining “a trusted partner for DoD-sponsored research grants.”

As recently as early August, the firm was still promoting its work helping a leading American pharmaceutical company as well as a multi-billion dollar American technology company enter and expand in Chinese markets.

However, web archives reveal that both references to the firm’s Chinese business dealings were removed sometime between July 26 and August 2.

A spokeswoman for WestExec told the Washington Free Beacon that the company “previously offered a service targeted to U.S. research universities to help them avoid inadvertently becoming involved with the Chinese government” but no longer provides that service. She did not provide the paper with details about why the firm stopped offering the service.

The company says it still assists businesses, including a major U.S. manufacturing firm, in navigating “China-related risks in an era of strategic competition.”

Republican senators have already expressed skepticism about some of the Biden nominees’ business dealings, particularly those involving China. The GOP is likely to retain its Senate majority next year, meaning Biden’s Cabinet nominees will need Republican votes to be confirmed.

America will not be stronger or safer if its foreign policy & national security agencies are led by people who just finished getting paid to help American companies do business with the Communist Party of China,” Senator Marco Rubio wrote in a tweet Monday.

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