Biden’s attendence at the LA art show raised further ethical questions
At least five pieces sold, and lawyers have started vetting potential patrons who plan to attend the upcoming show. The pieces sold at an Oct. 1 “pop up” presentation in Los Angeles.
The buyers’ identities are unknown, nor is it known if more pieces sold after the presentation, The New York Post reported.
“But most of those allowed to buy works are long-term, private collectors with the gallery,” a source familiar with the sale said.
The sale of Biden’s artwork has raised a number of ethical questions for the White House. In July, White House officials crafted an agreement under which the purchases of the artwork would remain confidential – even from the artist himself. Hunter Biden’s attendance at the Los Angeles event came despite the White House previously saying that he would not know the identities of potential buyers.
The New York gallery owner, George Berges, agreed to reject any offer he deems suspicious or that come in over the asking price, The Washington Post reported. A team of lawyers have worked to vet anyone who plans to attend the Soho gallery showing, though, it is not clear who hired the lawyers.
Some of Biden’s artwork has listed for as high as $500,000.
“The whole thing is a really bad idea,” former chief White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter told The Washington Post. “The initial reaction a lot of people are going to have is that he’s capitalizing on being the son of a president and wants people to give him a lot of money.”
Painter, who served in George W. Bush’s administration, said the recent sales are evidence that the “veil-of-secrecy” approach “is not happening.”
Walter Shaub, the former Office of Government Ethics director under President Obama, previously told Fox News that Hunter Biden’s lucrative art career has a “shameful and grifty feeling to it.”
The concern over the painting sales revolves around the question of access to the White House. President Biden’s nominee to be U.S. ambassador to India, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, was reportedly among the high-profile attendees at Hunter’s art show.
Art experts have said that Hunter Biden’s work is wildly overpriced.