A new scandal surrounds Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, who now plans to meet with potential buyers of his artwork at a supposedly blind auction. Ethics experts claim that he is taking advantage of his status to sell his paintings at excessive prices.
In early July it became known that Biden’s son would sell his paintings at auction. Initially, it was said that he would not know the potential buyers to prevent those who acquire the works from seeking access to the Biden government, however, it is now known that he will have contact with potential bidders.
According to The Epoch Times, the gallery organizing the auction said Biden plans to meet with potential buyers during two exhibitions, one in Los Angeles and the other in New York. The paintings are expected to fetch between $75,000 and $500,000.
“He’s looking forward to [the exhibitions]. He’s like someone making his debut in the world. And, of course, he’ll be there,” Robin Davis, spokesperson for the Georges Berges Gallery, told CBS News.
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.
“Not good. Democrats would have gone crazy over this during Trump years. Same standard should apply,” said noted political analyst Brendan Nyhan.
Likewise, journalist Scott Stedman called the auction “an ethical disaster.”
Walter Shaub, director of the Office of Government Ethics during the Obama administration, also criticized the way Biden intends to conduct the sale of his works.
“Hunter Biden will meet with prospective buyers of his absurdly overpriced, presidency-profiting art. Good grief. The president has such a blind spot on this issue. I really hope he and his son come to their senses.,” Shaub said on social media.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in early July that “careful consideration” was made to set up a system “that allows Hunter Biden to work in his profession with reasonable safeguards.”
“All interactions related to art sales and pricing will be handled by a professional gallerist, adhering to the highest industry standards,” she added.
“And any offers out of the ordinary will be rejected outright. The gallerist will not share information about buyers or prospective buyers, including their identity, with Hunter Biden or management, providing a fairly high level of protection and transparency,” the press secretary said.
Richard Painter, Chief Ethics Lawyer for former President George W. Bush, also reacted on his social media 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.”
Instead, the White House defended the deal 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.”