It’s an open question as to when Kamala Harris will take over for Joe Biden.
A major scandal could scramble that equation.
A secret $500,000 payment may change Kamala Harris’ life forever.
Joe Biden’s hinted he may run for re-election in 2024.
But Biden’s worsening cognitive decline as well as the accumulation of scandals from Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings may force Biden to step aside for Harris in 2024.
The latest Hunter Biden money-making scheme sure to blow up in the Biden administration’s face is the absurd idea that Hunter Biden is a talented artist creating masterpieces worth half a million dollars.
An art gallery is working with the Biden administration to set up a system where supposedly “anonymous” buyers purchase Hunter Biden’s paintings for prices up to $500,000 without Biden or the administration knowing who they are.
The Washington Post reports:
White House officials have helped craft an agreement under which purchases of Hunter Biden’s artwork — which could be listed at prices as high as $500,000 — will be kept confidential from even the artist himself, in an attempt to avoid ethical issues that could arise as a presidential family member tries to sell a product with a highly subjective value.
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 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.
Ethics experts from both Republican and Democrat administrations scoffed at this idea and pointed out the obvious corruption of this arrangement.
George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer Richard Painter panned the deal pointing out the only reason anyone would pay those absurdly high prices for such nondescript paintings was because of Hunter Biden’s last name and proximity to power.
“The whole thing is a really bad idea,” Painter told the Post. “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.”
Barack Obama’s head of the Office of Government Ethics in his second term, Walter Shaub, blasted the deal’s shaky ethical foundation.
“Because we don’t know who is paying for this art and we don’t know for sure that [Hunter Biden] knows, we have no way of monitoring whether people are buying access to the White House,” Shaub said in an interview with the Post. “What these people are paying for is Hunter Biden’s last name.”
Hunter Biden is already under criminal investigation for his foreign business dealings in Ukraine and Communist China.
Those deals – like this shady art sale scheme – were predicated on the fact foreign businessmen and companies invested millions in Hunter Biden wagering that Biden’s relationship with his father – who served as vice president – would pay off in the future as policy decisions benefited the companies’ interests.
Joe Biden was just the vice president when Hunter Biden struck those deals that critics accuse of being nothing more than influence peddling.
The vice president wielded some authority back then.
But it paled in comparison to Joe Biden’s ability as president to move aircraft carriers, and tank or boost financial markets with just one sentence.
Anyone paying $500,000 for a Hunter Biden painting does not expect to remain anonymous for long and they are going to expect a payoff on their venture in the form of favorable administration action.
In the past, Joe Biden’s used his position to benefit companies paying his son.
When Joe Biden was the senator from Delaware back in 2005, he played a key role in passing a bill that made it more difficult for Americans in debt to declare bankruptcy.
While Biden helped push this legislation through Congress,the credit card company MBNA, the largest employer in Delaware, paid Hunter Biden an undisclosed amount in consulting fees.
Hunter Biden’s art gallery scheme opens the potential for even greater influence peddling and corruption.
If the political environment turns against Joe Biden and Democrats think Kamala Harris is their best bet in 2024 these scandals could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
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