President Biden seemingly can’t go more than a few weeks without finding himself in a new moral and ethical quandary thanks to the professional schemes of his son, Hunter. But while previous scandals have revolved around Hunter’s drug use, potential illegal lobbying, business dealings with the Ukraine and business dealings with China, the latest round of revelations could directly implicate President Biden by raising new questions about if Joe Biden violated federal tax law – as well as the United States Constitution – by not reporting income received from or through Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
According to recent reporting from the New York Post, Hunter Biden was allegedly paying thousands of dollars’ worth of bills for his father while Joe was serving as Vice President. A series of emails dating back to 2010 expose Hunter Biden’s growing frustration with having to make payments for “JRB,” presumably Joseph Robinette Biden. The digital discussions were between Hunter and Eric Schwerin, his business partner at Rosemont Seneca.
Additionally, text messages from 2019 between Hunter and his daughter, Naomi, found on the now-infamous Hunter Biden laptop seem to reveal the extent to which Hunter was footing bills for the entire Biden family. He wrote:
“I hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years. It’s really hard. But don’t worry unlike pop [Joe] I won’t make you give me half your salary.”
At the time he sent these messages, Hunter was employed by Burisma Holdings, one of the largest gas producers in Ukraine, which has faced numerous charges of corruption. Hunter was compensated $83,333 a month to serve on the company’s board, despite having no experience in the natural gas industry. Two months before Biden left office, Hunter’s salary was cut in half to $41,500.
Many of the expenses Hunter paid on behalf of Joe were for home repairs, most notably $2,600 for a stone wall and a recurring $190 monthly phone bill charge with AT&T. While screenshots of texts and emails appear to confirm these specific payments, it seems likely that these examples are only a small fraction of a much larger pattern of potentially improper payments Hunter made for Joe while he was serving as Vice President.
President Biden has maintained that there has never been a conflict of interest regarding his son’s professional career and consulting while Joe was in office. However, if Hunter did pay a significant portion of Joe’s expenses with money earned from lobbying for foreign corporations, as these emails suggest, and Joe did not report these gifts as income, he likely violated U.S. tax law.
The section of the U.S. Tax Code dealing with gifts, commonly known as the “Gift Tax,” directly limits the “transfer of property by one individual to another while receiving nothing, or less than full value, in return.” Up to $15,000 may be transferred without incurring taxes. Yet the aforementioned emails suggest Hunter could have “gifted” far more than this to support his family’s lifestyle. More investigation is required but, if accurate, this would constitute tax fraud.
Additionally, it is possible that Biden’s failure to report these gifts deriving from foreign sources violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which states:
No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
While no evidence so far shows Joe Biden personally accepted foreign gifts as Vice President, the possibility of him receiving benefits through his son’s business dealings raises massive red flags for Joe, Hunter, and anyone else in the First Family involved in such activity.
Even the Washington Post has reported that Hunter Biden understood his role as being the family’s breadwinner. In a widely cited piece from last October, columnist David Ignatius quoted Hunter telling a confidante that “my mom and dad don’t have money…. I have to make money for the family.”
Both Hunter and the Biden White House have also faced scrutiny recently after it was reported that Hunter had reached a deal with a New York-based art gallery owner to sell his paintings for as much as $500,000. Hunter, who is not a professionally trained artist, took up painting as part of his rehab from drug and alcohol addiction.
According to reporting from the Washington Post, citing several art critics, “Hunter Biden’s art would never be priced so high if he had a different last name.” Even CNN, a leading Hunter Biden defender, published an interview suggesting that Biden’s work is thoroughly unimpressive.
The White House has argued that Hunter’s newfound identity as a professional artist does not violate ethics requirements because of an agreement with the gallery owner whereby buyers remain anonymous to Hunter. However, Hunter is still set to meet with prospective buyers at “art shows” in New York and Los Angeles, with no apparent way to enforce the agreed-upon anonymity standards set by the White House.
The announcement earned bipartisan rebukes, with Walter Shaub, the former Office of Government Ethics director under Obama, blasting the White House for permitting the sales to move forward, stating “congratulations, you’ve just outsourced government ethics to a high-end art dealer.” After four years of the mainstream media falsely accusing the Trump family of profiting off the Presidency, many are asking if Hunter’s art career is simply a guise to allow Hunter to receive huge sums of money from individuals or groups – including foreign governments – who may want access to the President.
At a time when the Trump Organization is being aggressively investigated for even the perception of potential tax malfeasance, the Biden family’s alleged wrongdoing is facing far less scrutiny from the media and federal investigators. Such a double standard casts fresh doubt on Joe Biden’s claims denying any impropriety and warrants further investigation into the nature of Hunter and Joe’s financial relationship.
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