Former Vice President Joe Biden has often spoken emotionally about his desire to cure cancer, even promising last year that he would do so if elected to the White House.
In 2017, he and his wife Jill Biden formed a non-profit organization called the Biden Cancer Initiative to work toward that objective. But despite its lofty-sounding goals, a new investigative report suggests the charity isn’t above board.
According to the New York Post‘s Isabel Vincent, the Biden Cancer Initiative “gave out no grants in its first two years, and spent millions on the salaries of former Washington, D.C., aides it hired.”
Big money for Obama insiders
Biden, for his part, lost his youngest son, Beau, a former Delaware attorney general and Iraq war veteran, to brain cancer in 2015.
“It’s no secret that a lot of what made Beau the way he was was just how much he loved and admired his dad,” President Barack Obama said at Beau’s funeral, according to a White House transcript.
Two years later, Joe Biden launched his charity — but the Post‘s report suggests everything hasn’t been on the up-and-up from there. Writing Saturday, Vincent reported that $4,809,619 in donations to the organization in 2017 and 2018 were spent on payroll expenses. That included an annual salary of $429,850 for its president Gregory Simon in 2018, nearly twice what he was paid the year before.
As Vincent noted, Simon is “a former Pfizer executive and longtime health care lobbyist who headed up the White House’s cancer task force in President Barack Obama’s administration.”
Another figure to bring home a big paycheck was Danielle Carnival, who formerly served as chief of staff for former President Barack Obama’s cancer initiative.
Tax records show Carnival was paid $258,207 by the charity in 2018. Other major outlays that year included $97,149 spent on travel and $742,953 for conference expenses, the Post reported.
No actual cancer funding
Meanwhile, in the cancer charity’s first two years, nothing went toward actually providing grants for research, Vincent alleged — even though the initiative’s stated mission is to “develop and drive implementation of solutions to accelerate progress in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research and care and to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes.”
Simon, for his part, has blamed the group’s lack of tangible achievement on Biden having stepped away last year to run for president.
“We tried to power through but it became increasingly difficult to get the traction we needed to complete our mission,” Simon told the Associated Press in 2019, according to the Post.