Trump propagandists are spreading a debunked conspiracy theory about the source of Joe Biden's income

A Lou Dobbs segment sparked speculation that a quick rise in Biden’s income was due to his son’s alleged illicit activities, even though the Bidens have publicly released tax returns showing that their income is from book deals and speaking engagements

On October 16, 2020, Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight aired a segment speculating that Hunter Biden, son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, might be “funneling money to his father through the S corporations.” The segment contained a graphic that compared Joe and Jill Biden’s reported 2016 income to their reported income from 2017-2019. Several Twitter users used the graphic to further speculate about Biden’s income sources, including one who replied to another tweet from Newsmax TV host Greg Kelly -- even though we likely know the sources of this money from extensive reporting on Biden’s finances, including the tax returns he released.

Biden income tweets

Biden posted his recent financial disclosures and tax returns on his website, and multiple news organizations have done in-depth reports on various aspects of his finances since his vice presidency ended. According to The Washington Post, Joe and Jill Biden signed a three-book deal worth $8 million, two books from which have been published so far. Jill Biden also makes more than $90,000 a year teaching English at Northern Virginia Community College.

The Post further reported in July 2019 that “the vast majority of the former vice president’s income — which totaled $11 million in 2017 and $4.6 million in 2018 — came from book payments and speaking fees,” and it has reported that Biden typically “charged between $150,000 and $200,000 per speech.”

Update (1:00 p.m.): Shortly after the publication of this post, the conspiracy theory reached Donald Trump, Jr.