Obama Ethics Chief Slams Lucrative Art Deals Arranged for Hunter Biden by White House
Walter Shaub blasts Biden admin for keeping buyers hidden for Hunter
Former President Barack Obama's ethics chief has slammed a move by Joe Biden's White House to make arrangements for the lucrative sale of Hunter Biden's artwork.
The younger Biden, who is apparently an "artist" now, is selling off a collection of his "art" this week, in deals expected to earn a fortune for Hunter.
However, the White House arranged to handle the sales and keep the buyers' identities, and the amount they paid for the artwork, a secret.
The White House announced its ethics plan surrounding the sale of Hunter's pieces on Thursday.
In a statement, it was revealed that the lucrative artwork deals will be kept secret, despite the very public announcement of the sales, to try to avoid ethical pitfalls, according to a report by the Washington Post.
Walter Shaub, Obama’s former ethics chief, eviscerated the White House in a Twitter thread, saying the administration is trying to "make sure we will never know" who the buyers are.
"So instead of disclosing who is paying outrageous sums for Hunter Biden’s artwork so that we could monitor whether the purchasers are gaining access to government, the WH tried to make sure we will never know who they are," Shaub wrote while linking to the Post's report.
"That’s very disappointing."
"The idea's that even Hunter won't know, but the WH has outsourced government ethics to a private art dealer," Shaub continued.
"We're supposed to trust a merchant in an industry that's fertile ground for money laundering, as well as unknown buyers who could tell Hunter or WH officials?
The idea’s that even Hunter won’t know, but the WH has outsourced government ethics to a private art dealer. We’re supposed to trust a merchant in an industry that’s fertile ground for money laundering, as well as unknown buyers who could tell Hunter or WH officials? No thanks./2— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 8, 2021
Shaub expanded on his Twitter thread in a Thursday statement to Fox News, saying in an email that the deal is "the opposite of government ethics" and what the White House did was, in effect, getting "the art dealer to promise not to give us the means to monitor whether the buyers are getting preferential access to government" by keeping buyers anonymous.
He noted that Biden’s dealer, international art dealer Georges Berges, has "made a promise to the White House" that he does not believe Berges will "lightly break."
"Nobody ever said secrecy was the best disinfectant, but that's what we have now. And White House officials getting involved in any way other than to request transparency amounts to effectively putting an official stamp of approval on the president’s son trading on his father’s public service," Shaub said.
"Instead, the president should be begging his son not to go through with this sale, even if that means threatening to banish him from the family's Thanksgiving table this fall and publicly condemning his actions," he added.
Shaub was also critical of President Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, for appearing to cash in on her brother’s new position with a new book next year and pointed out that the president hasn't publicly told his relatives to stop "capitalizing on his name."
"On one level, I feel empathy for the president having all these relatives he can't directly control capitalizing on his name — whether it’s his brother, his son, or his sister — but, on the other hand, he isn't exactly out there publicly saying he wishes they'd stop, and that makes this a little bit his problem too," Shaub said in his email to Fox News.
The White House declined to comment on Shaub's criticism but pointed to a quote in the Post's report from the person who developed Obama's ethical practices, Norm Eisen.
"The basic presumption is adult kids are able to make a living . . . as long as a reasonable amount of distance is maintained from the White House," said Eisen.
"That means things like the White House should not be promoting the art show, which as far as I know they’re not doing."
Additionally, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates suggested to the Post on Thursday that the deal would ensure the sales are ethical.
"The president has established the highest ethical standards of any administration in American history, and his family’s commitment to rigorous processes like this is a prime example," Bates told the Post.
Biden’s artwork is being sold by international art dealer Georges Berges and will have asking prices ranging from $75,000 to $500,000.
Buyers will remain confidential.
A pay-for-play scheme, pure and simple.