Obama’s former ethics chief Walter Schaub is sending up red flags over the current White House’s involvement in Hunter Biden’s art-selling schemes. Specifically, he is warning that the practice of a selling art for huge sums above expected value is a “perfect mechanism” for bribery.
On Friday, it was revealed that Hunter Biden’s art could sell for as much as $75,000 to $500,000 each, despite the president’s son having no qualifications as an artist. The buyers’ names will be shielded from the public, purportedly kept from even Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and the White House.
The New York gallery owner who will be exhibitioning Hunter Biden’s paintings, George Bergès, will supposedly have the ability to reject offers that raise alarms, CBS reported.
“Potential conflicts could include offers above the asking price from buyers seeking political influence with the Biden family,” the report states. It would be quite a development if this indeed happened. The entire situation reeks of corruption, and even Barack Obama’s former ethics chief weighed in on the national security matter on Friday.
“I mean, they have outsourced Government Ethics to an art dealer,” Schaub said. “She mentioned industry standards. It’s an industry that’s notorious for money laundering,” he added.
“There’s no standards in that industry, and the idea that they’re going to flag any overly priced offers, well this is art that hasn’t even been juried into a community art sale,” he noted. “How is, how are they going to decide what’s unreasonable when they’ve already priced it in the range of $75,000 to $500,000 for a first outing? This is just preposterous and very disappointing.”
In an unexpected twist, even CNN started asking questions about the ethics conflict.
“Walter, just explain, why would the White House be the intermediary for the art sale?” Alisyn Camerota asked. “I mean, I think that what Jen Psaki was saying was that they thought that this would be a way to head off any ethical concerns, but you’re shaking your head.”
“Yeah, they’ve absolutely made it worse for two reasons,” he said. “One, what they’ve done is ensured that neither you nor I, or anyone watching this show will know who buys the art unless they share it publicly. But there’s nothing that we can do to monitor to make sure that Hunter Biden or anyone in the White House doesn’t find out, that the dealer keeps his or her promise that the buyers don’t call the White House, ask for a meeting and say, ‘Hey, I just bought the President’s son’s art for $500,000′.”
“Now maybe we trust Joe Biden not to give preferential treatment because he’s a better human being than Donald Trump,” he added, speciously. “But you don’t run an ethics program on the idea that you hope everybody behaves. If everybody in the world would behave, we don’t even need laws prohibiting murder then.”
“Art is subjective, right?” Victor Blackwell asked, seemingly coming to the Bidens’ defense. “The appreciation of these pieces, but they’re not bad, right? If you look at them, these are things that some collectors might like. Is there a way that Hunter Biden could now become this great emerging artist and sell them for a price that matches the market that would not run afoul of ethics concerns?”
“Well, the thing is, it’s just got the absolute appearance that he’s profiting off of his father’s fame,” Schaub noted. “He’s not selling under a pseudonym. He’s not waiting till his father is out of office. And he’s not selling at any price comparable to what other first time artists are selling.”
“So the White House should have first made its move to have the president try to talk him out of doing this,” he continued. “And if that failed, they should have gone the opposite direction and asked that the name of buyers be released and pledged to the American people that what they would do is let us know anytime one of those buyers got a meeting with an administration official so that the public could judge whether or not they were getting preferential treatment.”
“The problem is now they’ve set a precedent for the next president, and even if you happen to trust Joe Biden, what if the next president has the character of a Donald Trump, this would be a perfect mechanism for funneling bribes to that President,” Schaub added.
It is a ridiculous argument about the character of Donald Trump having any relevancy whatsoever. The former president was subjected to dead-end witch hunts and Russia hoaxes for four years with nothing to show for it. If Donald Trump Jr. tried pulling this stunt while in office, he would have been rightfully crucified in the press. But he didn’t do that, just like he didn’t fly around the world doing crack and cavorting with prostitutes while making millions from illicit international business deals.
That is what happened, and the U.S. press and big tech companies, for the most part, buried Hunter Biden’s problematic past prior to the election. Now, we’re seeing the fruits of the press’s malfeasance rear its ugly head in the form of blatant, open corruption, which is a direct consequence from the actual corrupt actors during the Trump years — namely, those involved with illegal Trump campaign surveillance and those who knowingly spead Russia collusion lies — escape all accountability.
It is a familiar theme for the Democratic Party. It is just like former Obama officials escaped all accountability for numerous scandals, such as the IRS targeting scandal, the NSA surveillance scandal, the AP spying scandal, the Fast & Furious gun-running scandal, the Benghazi cover-up scandal… the list goes on and on. It is something Schaub would know about personally, since he did nothing to hold anyone accountable for those scandals.
Indeed, the art deal imbroglio recalls Hunter Biden having no experience in the oil and gas industry, yet being paid $83,333 a month to “consult” for a Ukrainian gas company that was under scrutiny for tax issues. The ethical quandary was buried by the press, instead of journalists grilling the future president over the obvious conflicts of interest and brewing national security problem. The shady Hunter Biden art scheme is simply the natural culmination of the press refusing to hold one party accountable: Dirty, naked corruption.
The New York Post contacted a 67-year-old art collector on the Upper East Side who called Hunter’s work, “nice.” She added, “I think a lot of people can do that.” When asked if she would consider buying any of Hunter Biden’s pieces, she declined.
“I wouldn’t pay sh*t for it because he’s a criminal.’’
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.