Walter Shaub, former ethics chief under former President Barack Obama, slammed the Biden White House Thursday following reports of the administration’s plans to propose making buyers of Hunter Biden’s artwork anonymous in order to address ethics concerns, dismissing it as the “opposite of government ethics.”
The Biden White House is reportedly drafting a plan to address ethical concerns surrounding the president’s scandal-plagued son’s art venture. Hunter is working with Soho art dealer Georges Bergès, who is expected to hold an exhibition in New York this fall, selling Hunter’s paintings for up to half a million dollars. The rumored plan involves making buyers of Hunter’s art remain anonymous, even to Hunter, as Breitbart News detailed:
According to the Washington Post, the plan will see Bergès determining the price points for the artwork and withholding “all records, including potential bidders and final buyers.”
“The owner, Georges Bergès, has also agreed to reject any offer that he deems suspicious or that comes in over the asking price, according to people familiar with the agreement,” the Post reported.
Schaub, who sounded the alarm over Hunter’s newfound venture last month, noting the “shameful and grifty feeling to it,” slammed the White House’s supposed solution on Thursday.
Shaub, who served as the Office of Government Ethics director, wrote in a Twitter thread:
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. 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. 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.
Shaub continued, bluntly asking, “Is this amateur hour for government ethics?”
“Good luck dealing with the fallout when a new owner of Hunter’s pricey ‘art’ appears in a magazine spread. In the meantime, the WH has put its stamp of approval on the president’s son profiting off his father’s public service again,” he added before addressing his critics:
Yeah yeah, I know some folks aren’t going to like this thread because we’re not supposed to criticize the president who’s way better than the ethical disaster named Trump. But, you know what? With democracy on the ropes, ethics has never been more important. And this ain’t it.
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
Yeah yeah, I know some folks aren’t going to like this thread because we’re not supposed to criticize the president who’s way better than the ethical disaster named Trump. But, you know what? With democracy on the ropes, ethics has never been more important. And this ain’t it. /4
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 8, 2021
He doubled down in a statement to Fox News, adding that the White House’s proposal is the “opposite of government ethics”:
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,” he continued.
“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.
He added that 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.”
When asked by Artnet what President Biden thinks of his son’s work, Hunter said, “My dad loves everything that I do, and so I’ll leave it at that.”
Breitbart News senior contributor and Profiles in Corruption author Peter Schweizer also dismissed the White House’s efforts, describing it as an “absurd solution.”
“The only way to address these issues is with greater transparency–not less,” Schweizer told Breitbart News. “Their proposed solution is greater secrecy, not transparency. And they are essentially saying ‘Trust Us.’ Joe and Hunter Biden’s track record on such matters gives us no reason to trust them.”
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