The world has recently been made aware of the mind-boggling painting scam perpetrated by Hunter Biden, the son of former US Vice President Joe Biden. Since the sale of private artwork does not legally have to be reported to the public, Hunter has been raking in at least $1.3 million by selling paintings to mysterious benefactors.
While this may be seen as a way for Hunter to move large sums of money around without detection, it got us thinking: what if this same scam was used to circumvent campaign finance regulations and other financial transparency laws?
Take George Santos, the former Ohio politician whose seemingly endless lies and alleged campaign finance improprieties were recently exposed. He claimed to have “loaned” his own campaign money out of his own pocket, which is allowed. But what if Santos had done something even more nefarious by picking up a pallet and some brushes and paint in order to “create” artwork which he could then be “paid” for by anonymous benefactors? Even if the artwork was completely useless, he could sell it for eye-popping prices.
Campaign finance regulations limit how much people and organizations can give to political campaigns and people have gone to jail before for violating those rules. However, anyone can purchase “art” with very little oversight, making it the perfect way to channel money to a political candidate while appearing to be completely above board.
This is a dangerous game, however, as it blurs the lines between legal and illegal activities and circumvents the very laws that are meant to guarantee transparency and accountability in politics. And if political candidates start using this as a way of channeling large sums of money to their campaigns without detection, it could have far-reaching implications.
Ultimately, the Hunter Biden painting scam should serve as a warning to us all. While art can often be a way of expressing oneself and making money, it should never be used as a way to circumvent laws and exploit loopholes in order to line the pockets of political operatives. We must always strive for transparency and accountability in our political system, no matter how tempting the prospect of all-but-untraceable money may appear.