Several of Biden’s cabinet picks have worked for the firm, including its co-founder, Anthony Blinken, who is the nominee for secretary of state, and a former WestExec principal, Avril Haines, who is the nominee for director of national intelligence.
Web archives show that as recently as late July, the firm was touting its success in helping U.S. research universities accept donations from China, expand foreign research collaboration, and welcome foreign students in key STEM programs while remaining a “trusted partner for DOD-sponsored research grants.”
In early August, the firm said it had helped a leading American pharmaceutical company and a multibillion-dollar American technology company gain market access to China.
Both references were removed in early August, just a few weeks before Biden formally accepted the Democratic nomination for president.
Neither Biden’s transition, nor WestExec immediately responded to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the firm told the Washington Free Beacon that it no longer offers the aforementioned services to its clients.
Under its “What We Do” page, the firm still offers to help clients manage “China-related risk in an era of strategic competition.”
Founded in 2017, the firm says its “offers unique geopolitical and policy expertise to help business leaders make the best decisions in a complex and volatile international landscape.”
“We crate significant advantages for our clients by providing unparalleled expertise on the external factors and relationships that affect businesses,” reads a statement from its website.
Another Biden pick with ties to the firm is co-founder Michele Flournoy, whose nomination has drawn criticism from progressive groups.
In an open letter to Biden, a coalition of at least seven progressive groups warned the president-elect to avoid Flournoy, citing her record of “ill-advised policy decisions – particularly in relation to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Afghanistan – and an “opaque history of private-sector activity.”
Liberal critics have suggested that her views are more hawkish than Biden’s, particularly on the Afghanistan War, and some have pointed to her position as a co-founder of WestExec.
“Ms. Flournoy’s consistent support for military interventions has contributed to devastating crises around the world, including Yemen,” said Jehan Hakim, chairperson of the Yemeni Alliance Committee, which helped organize the letter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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