In the wake of Hunter Biden revealing that his artwork will soon be available for purchase — at exorbitant prices — through a special SoHo gallery event in Los Angeles, critics have taken the White House to task, suggesting that bad actors could purchase the pieces with the intention of gaining favor from the Biden family.
However, according to the Washington Examiner, President Joe Biden’s White House has apparently gone to extraordinary lengths to allow Hunter Biden to pursue the sales of his paintings, defending its approach to ensuring that a “system” has been established to allow the president’s son to sell his art with “reasonable safeguards.”
Reporters jumped on the topic during Friday’s White House press briefing. Though White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki didn’t have to circle back on the questions, she wasn’t as specific with her answers as some reporters in the room presumably wanted her to be.
“After careful consideration, a system has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within reasonable safeguards,” Psaki said, referring to a deal struck with the art gallery that will allegedly provide control to the gallery to monitor who purchases Hunter Biden’s art.
Psaki insisted to reporters that gallery owner Georges Berges will adhere to the highest standards in the industry, though many critics, such as Obama-era ethics chief Walter Shaub, have been extremely vocal expressing criticism of the White House’s involvement in allowing Hunter Biden, a rookie artist, to sell his works for prices only affordable by major players.
“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 said of the secretive deal.
Psaki defended Hunter Biden’s “right” to pursue such a career, saying at the press conference: “Of course, he has the right to pursue an artistic career just like any child of a president.”
Fears of bad actors
Shaub, and plenty of others, have expressed concern that foreign actors could be one of many examples of shady players who might consider buying Hunter Biden’s artwork as an entry into the inner circle of the Biden family, or, used as a tool for money laundering and skirting existing financial sanctions against certain countries who are barred from doing business in the United States.
The former ethics chief doubled down in his criticism this week, pointing out the ridiculous notion that U.S. government-level ethics are essentially being placed in the hands of a for-profit, swanky art gallery owner, in an industry already known for its use of laundering money and difficult-to-trace transactions.
“The idea’s that even Hunter won’t know, but the WH has outsourced government ethics to a private art dealer,” Shaub tweeted. “We’re supposed to trust a merchant in an industry that’s fertile ground for money laundering, as well as unknown buyers who could tell Hunter or WH officials? No thanks.”
Asking prices for Hunter Biden’s art will reportedly range from $75,000 to $500,000.
Only time will tell if everything works out as the White House says it will, but it’s not unreasonable that many believe this situation is nothing short of a scandal in the making.