Walter Shaub, the former director of Obama’s Office of Government Ethics, slammed the Biden administration on Thursday over reports that the administration had helped the president’s son, Hunter Biden, craft a deal where the buyers of his “outrageous[ly]” priced art would be kept completely secret.
“Under an arrangement negotiated in recent months, a New York gallery owner is planning to set prices for the art and will withhold all records, including potential bidders and final buyers,” The Washington Post reported. “Biden’s art sale, expected to take place this fall, comes with potential challenges. Not only has Biden previously been accused of trading in on his father’s name, but his latest vocation is in a field where works do not have a tangible fixed value and where concerns have arisen about secretive buyers and undisclosed sums.”
The deal, according to The Washington Post, will keep the purchases secret “from even the artist himself.”
Shaub ripped Biden last month over another report from The Washington Post about how the children of numerous top aides in the Biden administration had received “coveted jobs” in the Biden administration.
“I’m sorry, I know some folks don’t like hearing any criticism of him. But this royally sucks,” Shaub wrote on Twitter. “I’m disgusted. A lot of us worked hard to tee him up to restore ethics to government and believed the promises. This is a a real ‘f— you’ to us—and government ethics.”
In response to the report about how the deal will allegedly allow Hunter Biden to sell art for up to $500,000 to essentially anonymous buyers, Shaub warned that foreign nations could use the arrangement to embarrass the U.S.
“Imagine you’re a Kremlin official looking for a way to embarrass the U.S., and one day you read that the White House negotiated with a private art dealer to keep secret the names of buyers who pay outrageous sums at an upcoming auction for artwork by the president’s lawyer son,” Shaub wrote on Twitter. “Imagine you’re the White House official who came up with the idea to outsource government ethics management to an art dealer, and you suddenly realize Russian oligarchs like art too.”
“Biden should beg his son to stop this art sale, bringing all the pressure a father can bring to bear on a son,” Shaub added. “If that fails, he should insist on disclosure of the buyers and commit to publicly releasing all records of any meeting between any government official and any of them.”
“Imagine being a govt official who pipes up at a meeting to say ‘darkness is the best disinfectant,'” he wrote on Twitter. “Imagine adding ‘let’s outsource secret-keepin’ to someone reputable like an art dealer—and art-buyin’ randos.’ Imagine the chutzpah it takes to sell that mess as an ethics ‘win.'”
Shaub called the amount of money that Hunter Biden will reportedly charge for his art “outrageous,” and the White House’s attempts to prevent transparency “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,” he added. “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.”