Biden accused of failing to disclose vacations gifted to him by wealthy supporters

Share this post
Listen to this article

FIRST ON FOX: A conservative watchdog group is accusing President Biden of possible violations of federal financial disclosure laws related to lavish vacations he took at the homes of wealthy businessmen and Democratic donors. 

Russ Vought, president of the Center for Renewing America, is asking the Department of Justice to investigate Biden for alleged “serious ethical lapses” in failing to disclose free vacations that do not appear to qualify under certain exemptions in the Ethics in Government Act (EIGA), according to a complaint addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and obtained by Fox News Digital.

“Since at least the time he was Vice President, Biden has demonstrated a concerning and systematic trend of accepting lavish vacations as gifts from wealthy individuals with business before the government. And he has failed to disclose these gifts in violation of EIGA,” wrote Vought, who was director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President Trump.

“Whenever Biden wishes to celebrate a holiday or go on vacation, there seems to be a billionaire whose interests can be benefited by the President waiting to offer a vacation home. The potential for conflicts of interest are vast,” he continued.

BIDENS STAY AT HOUSE IN LAKE TAHOE OWNED BY FORMER 2020 RIVAL AND GREEN CLIMATE INVESTOR TOM STEYER

The complaint mentions widely reported vacations Biden and his family took between 2021-2023 at mansions owned by Democratic Party donor Maria Allwin, billionaire David Rubenstein, and business owners Bill and Connie Neville. The Center for Renewing America argues these free stays should have been reported as “gifts” in the president’s financial disclosures but were not, in violation of the law. 

READ ALSO  Emotional tributes to Brit skier, 47, killed in horror plunge off ‘world’s most difficult’ slope dubbed the Swiss Wall

The complaint also references an August 2023 week-long vacation the Bidens took at climate investor and former Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer’s $18 million waterfront mansion on Lake Tahoe. The White House said the first family rented the Nevada home for “fair market value,” but did not disclose how much the Bidens paid for it. 

Vought asserts there is reason to doubt the White House’s claim, noting that Steyer was investigated for illegally renting the home to Biden because Douglas County officials confirmed he did not have a permit to do so. However, a local investigation closed after county officials could not “substantiate that a code violation occurred.” 

Annual reports released by the White House for 2020-2022 show Biden did not disclose any gifts during those years.

BIDEN SPENDING THANKSGIVING AT LAVISH NANTUCKET HOME

The wealthy donors and businessmen who provided their homes to Biden have stakes in issues that cross his desk, the complaint alleges, and Biden’s failure to disclose his vacation stays could mask what may be “serious conflicts of interest,” Vought claims. 

Rubenstein, the Nevilles and Steyer did not respond to requests for comment. Allwin declined to comment. 

“President Biden is proud to have instituted the strongest ethics rules in history and to have reestablished the norm of publicly releasing his tax returns and financial disclosure reports to ensure full transparency with the American people,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates told Fox News Digital when reached for comment. 

READ ALSO  These 61 robotics companies are hiring

“This self-appointed ‘watchdog,’ which is led by former Trump administration officials, should embrace such transparency and disclose its own funding sources,” Bates added.    

BIDEN’S SENIOR ETHICS OFFICIAL DONATED TO VIRGINIA DEMOCRAT WHO LIVESTREAMED SEX ACTS, FILINGS SHOW

Ethics experts have previously raised concerns about Biden’s failure to disclose his vacations. In mid-August 2022, for instance, Biden and his family enjoyed a beach getaway at the $20 million home of Democratic Party donor Allwin. The New York Post reported that Biden did not pay Allwin rent for the stay. 

Richard Painter, a former top ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, said that unless Allwin was in the home while Biden was there, the president would not be able to claim a “personal hospitality” exemption and should have disclosed the stay as a gift.  

“The homeowner has to be a personal friend of the president or first lady and be present during the stay – otherwise that goes on the form. There’s no excuse not to have it on the form,” Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor, told the Post. 

Kedric Payne, an ethics lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center and former investigator for the Office of Congressional Ethics, said there is not enough information to determine whether Biden violated ethics rules.

READ ALSO  Real estate fraud risk is on the rise, and victims are sounding the alarm

BIDEN FAMILY HUDDLES IN EXCLUSIVE LAKE TAHOE HOME AMID SPECIAL COUNSEL INVESTIGATION INTO HUNTER

“Executive branch ethics rules could exempt President Biden from disclosing his stays at these homes, but we don’t have enough information to know if the exemptions apply,” Payne told Fox News Digital. 

“To avoid the appearance of impropriety, Biden should explain what’s going on. A short statement could clarify if this is considered personal hospitality or another exception to the disclosure rules. Voters have a right to know that the president complies with disclosure laws,” he said.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

The complaint asserts the circumstances of Biden’s vacations “are vastly different from public officials who visit friends at their homes or summer homes and don’t report these visits based on the personal hospitality provision in the EIGA.” 

“In those cases, they are visiting friends at their homes, not simply using a donor’s home for a free vacation,” Vought wrote.

The U.S. Office of Government Ethics oversees the executive branch ethics program but does not audit public financial disclosure reports. When a complaint is filed with law enforcement, the Justice Department may open an investigation at its discretion. 

The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment. 

Go to Source

Leave Your Comment