Walter Shaub says Joe Biden should pay for or disclose stay at billionaire home

The former director of the US Office of Government Ethics says that President Biden will either need to pay for his Thanksgiving stay at a billionaire private equity boss’ Nantucket compound or disclose it as a gift.

“Just a friendly reminder, @WhiteHouse, that @potus will have to pay fair market value for the stay on Nantucket or disclose the gift of free lodging in his annual disclosure in May 2022,” tweeted Walter Shaub, who ran the ethics office during Barack Obama’s second term.

“I’m not suggesting he wouldn’t,” Shaub added, “just reminding not to let it slip through the cracks.”

Biden and his family arrived on the Massachusetts island late Tuesday for their stay at the home of David Rubenstein, a co-founder of the Carlyle Group.

“There’s a disclosure exception for personal hospitality, but that only applies if the head of the Carlyle Group is staying there with the Bidens,” Shaub noted in a second tweet. “I suspect the WH is all over compliance with the rule — and oblivious to the ethical optics.”

Former director of the US Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub
Former director of the US Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub slammed President Joe Biden for snoozing “in a millionaire’s island paradise” with billionaire David Rubenstein.
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Former director of the US Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub
Shaub says President Joe Biden can also disclose his visit to Nantucket, Massachusetts as a free gift.
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Biden previously stayed at Rubenstein’s compound in 2014, during his tenure as vice president, according to Nantucket Magazine. Biden did not report that stay as a gift in his 2014 financial disclosure form, even though gifts valued at more than $350 should have been noted.

Shaub was a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump and has knocked Biden from the left for not doing more to pass a federal election reform bill. He has also criticized first son Hunter Biden’s novice art sales and a White House arrangement in which buyers are kept anonymous.

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden refused to answer media questions in his last press appearance before Thanksgiving.
AFP via Getty Images
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive on Air Force One at Nantucket Memorial Airport in Nantucket, Massachusetts on November 23, 2021.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive on Air Force One at Nantucket Memorial Airport in Nantucket, Massachusetts on Nov. 23, 2021.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

“If you’re a world leader spending the holiday at a billionaire’s beach house in a millionaire’s island paradise, 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, highlighted that Biden nominated Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to a second four-year term Monday. Powell was a partner at the Carlyle Group from 1997 to 2005.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are greeted on their way to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland on November 23, 2021.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are greeted on their way to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland on Nov. 23, 2021.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave as they board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on November 23, 2021.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave as they board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on November 23, 2021.
Pacific Coast News / Oliver Contreras

“Did former Carlyle partner Jerome Powell arrange this as a thank you gift?????????????????????” Hauser tweeted.

Shuab replied: “Look, Jeff. Who among us HASN’T spent a holiday at the beach house of the head of a gigantic multinational private equity, alternative asset management and financial services corporation while serving in high government office?”

Rubenstein’s net worth has been estimated at $4.5 billion by Forbes. A Baltimore native, he worked in the Jimmy Carter White House as a deputy domestic policy adviser before co-founding the Carlyle Group in 1987. He’s a top donor to the White House Historical Association, which funnels private funds toward White House art procurement and restoration projects. An association facility on Lafayette Park north of the White House bears his name.

Former director of the US Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub
Walter Shaub previously ripped President Joe Biden for allowing his son Hunter to profit off of art sales.
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President Joe Biden and First lady Jill Biden arrive at Nantucket Island, Massachusetts on November 23, 2021.
Joe Biden previously stayed at the Nantucket home in 2014.
REUTERS/Tasos Katopodis

The White House has barely attempted to defend the optics of Biden spending Thanksgiving at a billionaire’s home while Americans deal with spiking 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 Tuesday when asked what message middle and working class Americans should take from Biden’s Nantucket trip.

U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. First Lady Jill Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.
Shaub recommends President Joe Biden to “pay fair market value for the stay on Nantucket” on Thanksgiving.
Oliver Contreras / Pool via CNP
President Joe Biden and First lady Jill Biden disembark from Air Force One at Nantucket Island , Massachusetts.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden plan on spending their Thanksgiving at the Nantucket home of billionaire David Rubenstein.
REUTERS/Tasos Katopodis

The Carlyle Group’s leadership is politically diverse. Virginia Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin worked at the firm for 25 years and was its co-CEO from 2018 to 2020.

Currently, Carlyle boasts $293 billion in assets and more than 1,800 employees in 26 offices around the world.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden speak with Col. Matthew E. Jones and his wife Christie Jones as they board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden speak with Col. Matthew E. Jones and his wife Christie Jones as they board Air Force One.
REUTERS/Tasos Katopodis

Presidents and vice presidents are allowed to accept gifts from US citizens but are supposed to disclose them.

Former President Donald Trump disclosed in January that he received about $40,000 in gifts in his final year in office — including a bronze statue of Marines raising the US flag over Iwo Jima from the Greatest Generations Foundation worth nearly $26,000, as well as a $5,999 Mac Pro computer from Apple CEO Tim Cook.