The former head of the US Office of Government Ethics says President Biden will either have to pay for his Thanksgiving stay at a billionaire’s private equity manager Nantucket compound or reveal it as a gift.
“Just a kind reminder, @WhiteHouse, that @potus will have to pay a reasonable market value for the stay at Nantucket or reveal the gift of free lodging in its annual revelation in May 2022,” tweeted Walter Shub, who ran the ethics office during Barack Obama’s second term.
“I’m not suggesting he would not do it,” Shaub added, “just reminding him not to let it slip between the chairs.”
Biden and his family arrived in Massachusetts Island late Tuesday for their stay at the home of David Rubenstein, one of the founders of the Carlyle Group.
“There is an exception for disclosure for personal hospitality, but that only applies if the head of the Carlyle Group stays there with Bidens,” Shaub noted in a second tweet. “I suspect that WH complies with the rule – and unaware of the ethical optics.”
Biden previously stayed at Rubenstein’s facility in 2014, during his time as vice president, according to Nantucket Magazine. Biden did not report the stay as a gift in his 2014 financial information form, even if gifts valued to more than $ 350 should have been noted.
Shaub was a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump and has tapped Biden from the left to do no more to pass a federal election reform. He has also criticized first son Hunter Biden’s beginner art sales and a White House event where buyers are kept anonymous.
“If you’re a world leader spending your vacation on a billionaire’s beach house on a millionaire’s paradise island, I hope you’ll spend the weekend getting ready to care about voting rights,” Shaub wrote in another tweet.
Shaub is not the only critic of Biden’s choice for a Thanksgiving retreat.
Jeff Hauser, who runs the Revolving Door Project at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, pointed out that Biden nominated Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to a second four-year period on Monday. Powell was a partner in the Carlyle Group from 1997 to 2005.
“Did former Carlyle partner Jerome Powell arrange this as a thank you gift ????????????????????” Hauser tweeted.
Shuab replied: “Look, Jeff. Who among us has NOT spent a vacation on the beach house to the head of a giant multinational private capital company, alternative asset management and financial services company while serving in a senior government office?
Rubenstein’s net worth has been estimated at $ 4.5 billion by Forbes. Born in Baltimore, Jimmy Carter worked for the White House as an Assistant Home Policy Adviser before founding the Carlyle Group in 1987. He is one of the leading donors to the White House Historical Association, which channels private funds to the White House art procurement and restoration projects. . An association facility in Lafayette Park north of the White House bears his name.
The White House has barely tried to defend the optics of Biden spending Thanksgiving at the home of a billionaire while Americans handle high gas and food prices.
“This is a time to put politics aside, spend time with your loved ones and talk about what you’re grateful for,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday when asked what message middle- and working-class Americans should take. from Biden’s Nantucket trip.
Carlyle Group’s leadership is politically diverse. Virginia’s Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin worked at the company for 25 years and was its co-CEO from 2018 to 2020.
Carlyle currently has $ 293 billion in assets and more than 1,800 employees in 26 offices around the world.
Presidents and vice presidents may receive gifts from American citizens but are supposed to reveal them.
Former President Donald Trump revealed in January that he had received about $ 40,000 in gifts during his final year in office – including a bronze statue of Marines hoisting the American flag over Iwo Jima from the Greatest Generations Foundation worth nearly $ 26,000, as well as a $ 5,999 Mac Pro from Apple CEO Tim Cook.