The White House is claiming that it has found a way to avoid ethics problems with the issue of President Biden’s scandal-ridden son, Hunter, selling his paintings for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The situation literally lends itself to the possibility of influence buying, as even a president’s family is not immune to the appeal of $500,000 checks and Joe Biden already has been revealed to have been involved financially in some of Hunter Biden’s deal manipulations.
He even, in at least one instance, appeared to be moving directly to protect Hunter Biden’s interests. While Joe Biden was vice president, Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which was funding Hunter Biden’s lifestyle at the rate of nearly a million dollars a year, was under investigation for corruption.
Joe Biden openly boasted of threatening to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid if Ukraine’s president did not fire the country’s top prosecutor, Victor Shokin, who at the time was investigating Burisma for corruption.
A French website reported Shokin later filed a criminal complaint naming Joe Biden and accusing him of committing a “criminal offense” in his campaign to get Shokin fired.
Washington Examiner Chief Political Correspondent Byron York just this week explained that the stories about Hunter Biden’s dealings are so important:
“Remember a key fact here: Joe Biden has said repeatedly that he never knew about his son’s business dealings. If what [New York Post columnist Miranda] Devine is reporting is correct, Biden made those claims after having financially benefited from his son’s business dealings and after having been a part of some of his son’s business events. Again: The Hunter Biden laptop story is not about Hunter Biden. It’s about Joe Biden,” he wrote.
Art critics were gushing with enthusiasm over Hunter Biden’s daubs earlier when it was revealed he was planning to sell them for up to $500,000. But at least they admitted openly at the time the prices were high because of the painter’s name, Biden.
Now the Daily Mail is reporting the White House is working again to help Biden, suggesting a way to facilitate huge payments to Hunter Biden by brokering a deal to allow buyers to “remain confidential, despite widespread concerns it could lead to bribery and influence peddling.”
The report said, “The idea is avoid a situation where he knew who was buying his work so he might be in the position to do them a favor – although it still provides an opportunity for unidentified individuals to shovel large sums to the president’s son as he battles high living costs and legal fees.”
Richard Painter, an ethics expert, told the Washington Post the concept is “a really bad idea.”
“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,” added ethics expert Walter Shaub.
“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,” the former director of the Office of Government Ethics in the Obama administration added.
The Mail’s description of the possible pitfalls included: “Experts are already warning of the risks of influence peddling or at least the appearance of ethical conflict when people buy paintings by the president’s son in a market where sales are already murky and prices extremely difficult to evaluate in an industry that can be used for money laundering.”
The report noted Hunter Biden’s “consulting work” already has “caused political headaches for the president.”
Painter explained, “The initial reaction a lot of people are going to have is that he’s capitalizing on being the son of a president and wants people to give him a lot of money. I mean, those are awfully high prices.”
Shaub has urged those involved to reveal the purchasers so the public can watch for any special privileges that are granted.
“The notion of a president’s son capitalizing on that relationship by selling art at obviously inflated prices and keeping the public in the dark about who’s funneling money to him has a shameful and grifty feel to it,” he said.
He continued, “I also think it’s ridiculous that Hunter Biden is even going forward with this sale as a first-time artist. He can’t possibly think anyone is paying him based on the quality of the art. This smells like an attempt to cash in on a family connection to the White House.”
The suspicions already have been openly stated. The Mail reported, “Former Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh tweeted: ‘It’s now actually commonplace for people to throw piles of money at Hunter Biden. Will the rest of the corporate media care that anonymous ‘collectors’ are dropping large sums on the president’s son, or nah?
“‘They couldn’t possibly want anything. They’re just art lovers, right?'”
Hunter Biden’s previous scandals include his taking $83,000 a month from Burisma while his father was vice president and responsible for Ukraine policy for Barack Obama, his business dealings with China, which reportedly included a cut for the “Big Guy,” identified as Joe Biden, his plans to make deals around the world involving access to his father, his travels on Air Force Two to China and Mexico for business meetings, and much more.
Critics have suggested the one true way to determine the art’s value would be to sell it as being done by an anonymous painter – without the Biden name attached.
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