New scandal surrounds Hunter Biden, who decided to auction his works of art in which the identities of those who decide to bid for them will be kept anonymous. The paintings are expected to fetch between 75,000 and 500,000 dollars.
The son of the president of the United States has now decided to dedicate himself to art and will hold an auction with his works. Ethics experts claim that he is taking advantage of his status to sell his paintings at excessive prices.
A report by The Washington Post revealed this Thursday, July 8, that White House officials helped Hunter draft a document indicating that the names of the buyers will remain anonymous.
The Post reported that the gallery owner, Georges Bergès, will set prices for the works and protect the names of bidders and buyers, including Hunter Biden’s name.
In principle, the agreement is intended to prevent buyers from acquiring the artwork to gain access to the Biden government. However, ethics experts warn that such an auction would be a mistake, as buying art at high prices from an immediate member of the presidential family could be seen as a way to get close to the commander-in-chief.
“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 the government, the WH tried to make sure we’ll never know who they are. That’s very disappointing,” tweeted Walter Shaub, who from 2013 to 2017 led the Office of Government Ethics.
“Are we supposed to trust a trader in an industry that is fertile ground for money laundering, as well as unknown buyers who might tell Hunter or WH officials? No, thank you,” he continued.
“The White House has put its stamp of approval on the president’s son again benefiting from his father’s public service […] we have no way to monitor whether people are buying access to the White House,” he said.
Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer for former President George W. Bush, also reacted on his social networks about the auction: “Hunter Biden should wait to sell his art until the end of his father’s presidency. Otherwise, the White House should demand recusal at the highest levels of the Biden administration from matters involving the buyers.”
The White House defended the deal to the Post and, according to Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates, this is an “excellent example” of how President Biden “has set the highest ethical standards of any administration in U.S. history.”