The latest developments in the burgeoning art career of first son Hunter Biden have presented a host of new ethical questions for the White House, and when questioned about the controversy this week, top officials were left scrambling to explain what to most observers is a jaw-dropping level of grift, as Breitbart reports.
Though he lacks any background or training as an artist, Hunter Biden recently launched a new career in that high-flying world, aligning with a gallerist who estimated that his canvas and paper works could fetch anywhere between $75,000 and $500,000, truly eye-watering sums for a heretofore unknown creator, as NPR noted earlier this year.
Indeed, the latest reinvention of President Joe Biden’s son took another step forward this week when the artist met and mingled with a host of wealthy celebrities and potential patrons at an exhibition in Los Angeles, an event which re-ignited a number of ethical concerns about possible influence peddling, as the New York Post explained.
In the wake of the event, which reportedly saw Biden mixing with luminaries such as boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, musical artist Millie Brown, and more, the White House was pressed to square that appearance with prior assurances that the president’s son would remain in the dark about the identities of those interested in his work and those who actually purchase it.
During an exchange with White House press secretary Jen Psaki, CBS reporter Steven Portnoy sought clarification on the administration’s stance on the matter, but the Biden spokesperson said merely, “We’ve spoken to the specifics that the gallerist has agreed to and what recommendations were made. I’ve done that several times. I don’t have any other details for you from here, I’d point you to them,” as Breitbart noted.
Despite Psaki’s attempt to deflect further questioning on the matter and brush the staggeringly apparent ethical problems of the prospective art sales to the side, the entire episode has drawn intense criticism even from Obama-era Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub, who, as Fox News reported, has declared the entire venture extraordinarily unseemly.
“The notion of a president’s son capitalizing on that relationship by selling art at obviously inflated prices and keeping the public in the dark about who’s funneling money to him has a shameful and grifty feel to it,” Shaub said, adding, “He can’t possibly think anyone is paying him based on the quality of the art. This smells like an attempt to cash in on a family connection to the White House.”
Peter Schweizer of the Government Accountability Institute – a longtime critic of the Biden family’s questionable business dealings – has labeled Hunter’s art scheme an example of “genius level” corruption in that it takes advantage of the subjective nature of a painting’s value to exploit opportunities for corruption and money laundering involving foreign oligarchs for which the art world is notorious.
If the presidential son poised to rake in millions on artwork of spurious merit happened to have the last name of Trump, the outrage coursing through the media would undoubtedly be palpable, but as it stands, there seems to be little journalistic interest in this latest Biden scam, and sadly, it is apparent that the White House feels no duty to offer any substantive explanation either.