Rhode Island Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse evaded questions over the Biden family’s potentially criminal overseas business ventures on Thursday while speaking out against international money laundering schemes within the art industry.
“We come in with better credibility than we would have a year ago,” Whitehouse said in an interview with The Hill’s “Rising” regarding the nation’s position to lead a global crackdown on corruption with a worldwide coalition and Glasgow-style conference.
“Senator, how much do you trust Joe Biden to fulfill a mission like that given his son’s many international dealings?” The Federalist’s Culture Editor Emily Jashinsky asked. Hunter Biden spent years brokering lucrative overseas deals on the heels of his father’s name. From leveraging his father’s role in the Obama White House in the construction of a Chinese-partnered global equity firm to landing high-dollar board roles in Ukraine despite no relevant experience, Hunter Biden’s overseas business career has been the subject of congressional and FBI investigations for years.
“I think we are at a stage where this has really risen as a global issue,” Whitehouse said, with no concern about the president’s son still appearing to sell family influence in the form of overpriced art sales. “I think it’s not just President Biden’s personal commitment to this, I think this is also to a certain extent, as they say, an idea whose time has come.”
Whitehouse, a self-proclaimed crusader against white-collar crime and fraudulent money schemes, later went on to highlight the art industry in particular as an area ripe for illicit business. Last year, a Senate report from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee raised concerns over art sales serving as financial vehicles to evade sanctions, chronicling the experience of Russian oligarchs who exploited the industry in particular.
“Money launderers will find a way of least resistance,” Whitehouse said of corrupt actors circumventing financial guardrails, whether the money manager is an “art dealer, or a yacht dealer, or a real estate dealer.”
This week, the White House admitted that Hunter Biden’s new professional passion was ripe for money laundering, leading Jashinsky to loop back to the issue when it was her turn. “The art dealer point is an interesting one,” she said.
“It seems sort of ridiculous coming from Joe Biden this idea that he’s going to crack down on international kleptocracy when his own son tagged along with him on trips while he was vice president and did some of his own business along these lines on those trips,” Jashinsky said. “Is it an insult to other countries to have Joe Biden sort of claiming the moral high ground on this question?”
“I don’t think so,” Whitehouse responded, adding nothing of the Biden family business dealings, which have led one former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, to say at the height of the 2020 presidential campaign that the Bidens were “compromised” by China.
“We have not been perfect,” said Whitehouse. “The Trump years were not good for us.”