Former President Barack Obama’s head of the Office of Government Ethics is blasting President Joe Biden’s son Hunter over his latest money-making endeavor: Selling his artwork to confidential buyers at exorbitant prices.
Walter Shaub, who has recently been critical of the president for other reasons, questioned the sale of work by Hunter Biden, who has no art background whatsoever, for as much as a half-million dollars to anonymous buyers, describing it as having a “shameful and grifty feeling to it.”
“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,” Shaub said Monday during an interview with Fox News.
He went on to suggest that the inflated prices and the hidden buyers are attempts by “influence-seekers” to impact presidential policies.
“Just as hotel charges and real estate purchases created a risk of unknown parties funneling money to the Trump family for potentially unsavory purposes, Hunter Biden’s grotesquely inflated art prices create a similar risk of influence-seekers funneling money to the Biden family,” Shaub said.
The former ethics chief added that Hunter Biden and Georges Berges, his art dealer, “should disclose the identity of the purchasers” so Americans can see if those buyers are simply attempting to “gain access to government.”
Shaub noted further that the “public should not have to take it on blind faith that government officials will behave” despite whether “any attempt to curry favor or buy influence is likely to succeed.”
The ex-Obama official then pointed at Hunter Biden directly.
“But I also think it’s ridiculous that Hunter Biden is even going forward with this sale as a first-time artist,” Shaub said. “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.”
Biden reportedly paints with a straw, blowing out designs on canvas.
“At a minimum, the president should be asking his son not to go through with this auction,” he continued.
Hunter Biden came under fire last week after Berges said his artwork would garner between $75,000 and $500,000.
By comparison, a piece by French neo-expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for $20,900 in 1984, or $53,770.96 in today’s dollars, Fox News reported.
Earlier, Shaub took to Twitter in a profanity-laced thread to blast President Biden and his administration for hiring family members following a Washington Post story listing them.
“I’m sorry, I know some folks don’t like hearing any criticism of him. But this royally sucks. I’m disgusted,” Shaub began.
“A lot of us worked hard to tee him up to restore ethics to government and believed the promises. This is a real ‘f**k you’ to us—and government ethics,” he continued. ‘
The Post reported: “[A]t least five children of [Biden’s] top aides have secured coveted jobs in the new administration. They include two sons and a daughter of the White House counselor, the daughter of a deputy White House chief of staff and the daughter of the director of presidential personnel.
“The pattern — which continued this week with the Treasury Department’s announcement that it was hiring J.J. Ricchetti, son of Biden counselor Steve Ricchetti — has drawn concerns from ethics experts, diversity advocates and others. They say it is disappointing that Biden didn’t shift even further from the practices of Donald Trump’s presidency, which they felt reeked of nepotism and cronyism,” the paper continued.
A few days before the Post’s report, Shaub brought attention to the subject of nepotism in the Biden administration with a tweet containing the names of four officials with a challenge of sorts.
“See if you can guess which one of these special assistants at the treasury department has a daddy who’s one of the top aides to the president,” he wrote. “See if you can guess the economic background of this privileged white boy.”
Shaub later pushed back on users who were critical of his post.
“The responses from people who spent 4 years complaining the other side was putting party over country are pathetic. They sound just like MAGAs,” he wrote. “The jobs went to privileged kiddos with mommies & daddies who cozied up to POTUS. Nepotism is illegal.”
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