The Penn Biden Center, the Washington, D.C., think tank where classified documents were stored after President Joe Biden left office as vice president, hosted a two-day "bootcamp" for congressional staffers last June in partnership with organizations promoting closer engagement with China, raising new questions about security at the center where the papers were still being held at the time.
The event at the University of Pennsylvania facility was held to encourage closer ties with China concerning green energy and academia, The Washington Free Beacon reports.
The school's website said 12 fellows from the Penn Project on the Future of U.S.-China Relations were speakers for the boot camp, financed by Penn’s China Research and Engagement Fund.
The group's advisory board includes Kaiser Kuo, a former spokesman for tech giant Baidu. Kuo is now the editor at large of a news outlet, SupChina, which recently changed its name to the China Project, a group being investigated by members of Congress.
The Free Beacon further reported there were no security officials posted at Penn Biden during the June conference and people there were able to walk around, unmonitored while using rooms for phone calls and private work.
Biden has said his office at the Penn Biden Center had been set up for him by his lawyers while he was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania after his second term as vice president and before running for the presidency in 2020.
The event comes as questions circle about the University of Pennsylvania's acceptance of millions of dollars in donations have come to the school, even while it died the contributions were not earmarked for the think tank.
Rebeccah Heinrichs, a national security expert and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute commented that the news was "incredibly alarming" that outside groups held events at the Penn Biden Center while documents were stored there.
"The fact that [the documents] were not secured, [were] open and uncared for, and also that you had this other activity going on inside this facility, with individuals that may not have the best interests of the American people at heart, is shocking," said she said, adding that she wants to know more about the workshops.
The university has not responded to requests for comments on the two-day event, organized by its Center for the Study of Contemporary China, the Penn Project on the Future of U.S.-China Relations, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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