Speed Reads

'hiding the ball'

Hunter Biden's dealings could threaten his father's anti-corruption positioning

After the election, it appeared the saga of Hunter Biden — including his work for a Ukranian energy company Burisma and a leak of material from what was allegedly his laptop — might fade away. Instead, President Biden's son has "remained in the headlines," writes Politico, muddying ethical waters once again when it was revealed he would begin selling his artwork at starting prices as high as $500,000. The painting venture — alongside new information regarding the laptop material and "emerging evidence" about the dealings of other family members — suggests the issue of Hunter Biden is not going away, and could "threaten to complicate the White House's efforts to position Biden as a global anti-corruption crusader," writes Politico.

"Even though this administration isn't corrupt on the same level as the previous administration, which seemed to embrace the corruption," said Kathleen Clark, a government ethics expert, "the public has reason to be concerned." The president has said he does not discuss with relatives' their business dealings.

The case for "close scrutiny" of an administration who has contended to have the "highest ethical standards of any ... in history" only "grows stronger" the more the situation is analyzed, writes Politico. Left unaddressed, the first son's dealings might frustrate the president's "intention to restore public confidence in the executive branch."

Even with attention moving toward Hunter Biden's artwork (and the criticized arrangement set up to accomodate its sale), earlier incidents, like the laptop and work for Burisma, "remain murky," writes Politico, and could undermine a White House global anti-corruption push if not "aired out."

"Hiding the ball," said Clark, in reference to the White House's approach to the sale of paintings, "is not the way to protect the public trust." Read more at Politico.