According to a person familiar with the matter, a New York gallery owner would manage sales of Hunter Biden’s original artwork, an arrangement designed to alleviate worries about purchasers paying top money to gain influence with the president’s son.
President Joe Biden’s son’s artwork will be priced separately by the gallerist Georges Berges, who will keep the identity of buyers hidden from the president and government officials. Berges will be the only one who can gather, reject, and accept proposals. Berges has decided to reject any offer that appears to be out of the ordinary, even bids that are more than the asking price.
According to the source, White House officials were engaged in the arrangement’s creation to eliminate any impression of preferential treatment or a conflict of interest.
Ethics experts, on the other hand, have expressed reservations about the deal.
“This setup is inconvenient. In this situation, the greatest disinfectant would have been a transparent procedure. The public would be able to see who the buyers are, and the Bidens would then be forced to explain why there isn’t a conflict “Meredith McGehee, executive director of Issue One, a non-profit devoted to limiting money’s impact in politics, agreed.
“The White House took the exact opposite path that they should have taken. The public will be the only ones who do not know who the purchasers are in the end. Going in the other way creates more problems than it answers “she stated
“The president has set the highest ethical standards of any administration in American history, and his family’s dedication to rigorous protocols like this is a perfect example,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement to ABC News.
President George W. Bush’s top ethics lawyer, Richard Painter, told ABC News that he would have advised against a confidentiality agreement for the president’s son during his tenure in the White House.
“The ideal approach would be to paint now and sell later, once his father has retired,” Painter said.
“The issue is that they picked the secret path, which never works. I’m not going to compare it to Trump’s tax returns because he isn’t the president. People will presume the worse if you don’t share something or if there is concealment “Added he.
Hunter Biden, however, is not a government employee, and he has the freedom to do anything he wants with his work, according to Painter.
Hunter Biden has long utilized art to cope with addiction and personal traumas, such as his brother Beau’s death in 2015.
Painting “directed my attention toward something constructive,” Biden remarked in a New York Times interview.
In the interview, he stated, “It keeps me away from individuals and situations where I shouldn’t be.”
Don Fox, the former chief counsel of the Obama administration’s Office of Government Ethics, pointed out that any president’s child’s employment possibilities are constantly scrutinized.
“When it comes to visual art, the artist’s name plays a significant role in determining the worth of a piece. The screening system in place for the sale of Hunter Biden’s work isn’t ideal, but it’s the best that can be done in a situation when the product’s worth is so highly subjective. Hunter Biden has a right to life “According to ABC News, Fox stated.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Chris Clark, did not reply to a request for comment. Berges’ gallery representative declined to comment on the record.