Former Obama Ethics Chief Terms Hunter Biden Art-Selling Arrangement Brokered By White House As "A Perfect Mechanism for Funneling Bribes"

·3-min read

Hunter Biden's first solo exhibition and auction, set for October at the George Bergès Gallery in New York, has been subject to criticism amid concerns that the art market is notorious for corruption and shady business activity. The paintings are set to cost anywhere from $75,000 for a piece on paper to half a million dollars for large-scale paintings.

Ethics experts have expressed apprehension that buyers of his creations are unlikely to be real art-appreciating connoisseurs or collectors but rather individuals looking to purchase clout, preferential treatment, and influence.

The White House has crafted a commercial arrangement that would allow President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden to sell his artwork for tens of thousands of dollars without knowing the identity of the purchaser in an attempt to prevent potential ethical violations, AP reported.

As part of the commercial arrangement brokered by White House, the buyers are supposed to remain anonymous to Hunter Biden - who is a self-taught artist - in order to prevent influence-peddlers seeking to curry favour with the US president.

Ethics experts say that Hunter Biden’s artwork wouldn’t have had the handsome price tag if not for his last name and family connection to the president. They have expressed apprehension that buyers of his creations are unlikely to be real art-appreciating connoisseurs or collectors but rather individuals looking to purchase clout, preferential treatment, and influence.

During an appearance on CNN on Friday, former Obama-era Office of Government Ethics chief Walter Shaub termed the White House’s arrangement allowing Hunter Biden to sell his art “the perfect mechanism for funneling bribes” to the president.

Hunter Biden's first solo exhibition and auction, set for October at the George Bergès Gallery in New York, has been subject to criticism amid concerns that the art market is notorious for corruption and shady business activity. The paintings are set to cost anywhere from $75,000 for a piece on paper to half a million dollars for large-scale paintings.

The White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: "After careful consideration, a system has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within reasonable safeguards."

She said the White House’s appointing itself the intermediary in the arrangement would help the Biden family avoid running afoul of ethics concerns.

Hunter Biden's dubious business dealings in Ukraine, China and elsewhere have often been a constant subject of scrutiny.

During the run up to the presidential election, leaked emails published in media outlets showed that Hunter Biden had entered into a consulting contract with China’s largest private energy company that initially earned him $10 million a year “for introductions alone”.

In a leaked email thread published by The New York Post , Hunter Biden discussed in detail a deal with the former chairman of CEFC China Energy, Ye Jianming, saying Ye agreed to change the terms of Biden’s three-year consulting contract with CEFC, which initially promised Biden $10 million per-year “for introductions alone,” to make it “much more lasting and more lucrative,”

In Dec 2021, Hunter Biden disclosed that federal investigators are conducting a probe into his taxes.

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