Hunter Biden art sales raise red flags and ethics concerns
Former George W. Bush ethics attorney Richard Painter joins ‘Fox & Friends First’ to discuss the legal concerns surrounding Hunter Biden’s sale of his artwork
The White House Friday defended a deal it brokered to allow Hunter Biden’s artwork, which could be listed as high as $500,000 each, to sell to anonymous buyers and with no disclosure to the public.
“After careful consideration, a system has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within reasonable safeguards,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday. “Of course, he has the right to pursue an artistic career just like any child of a president has the right to pursue a career.”
Biden, 51, has embarked on a new career path as an artist and will sell his paintings at upcoming exhibitions in Los Angeles and New York. But in order to avoid an appearance of outsiders trying to peddle influence with the Biden family, the White House crafted an agreement to keep the names of the buyers confidential from Biden himself, The Washington Post first reported.
The deal raised plenty of red flags by ethics watchdogs.
Walter Shaub, then-President Barack Obama’s former ethics chief, eviscerated the White House in a Twitter thread, saying the administration is trying to “make sure we will never know” who the buyers are.
“So instead of disclosing who is paying outrageous sums for Hunter Biden’s artwork so that we could monitor whether the purchasers are gaining access to government, the WH tried to make sure we will never know who they are,” Shaub wrote while linking to The Post’s report. “That’s very disappointing.”
But Psaki said Friday during a White House press briefing that sales will be conducted by professionals with the “highest industry standard” and the anonymous nature of the transactions is meant to protect against any improprieties.
“I think it would be challenging for an anonymous person who we don’t know and Hunter Biden doesn’t know to have influence,” Psaki said.
The younger Biden’s foreign business dealings and laptop contents have already been a thorn in the side for the Biden White House. Recently Hunter, who has battled drug addiction in the past, tried to find new avenues for making a living, including penning a memoir and producing artwork.
Hunter’s art dealer, Georges Bergès, plans to host a private viewing for Biden in Los Angeles this fall, followed by an exhibition in New York. Prices range from $75,000 for works on paper to $500,000 for large-scale paintings, Bergès told Artnet.
Hunter Biden described his full-time artistry as getting to the truth.
“I don’t paint from emotion or feeling, which I think are both very ephemeral,” Biden told Artnet of his work. “For me, painting is much more about kind of trying to bring forth what is, I think, the universal truth.”
Fox News’ Houston Keene contributed to this report.
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