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Obama ethics chief warns of 'influence-seekers' buying Hunter Biden's art

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 6/21/2021 Kaelan Deese
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Former President Barack Obama's ethics chief is raising concerns about a plan to sell Hunter Biden art for high prices to "confidential" buyers.

Walter Shaub, who worked under Obama in the Office of Government Ethics from 2013 to 2017, expressed his outrage on Monday in response to reports about the impending sale of Biden's art priced between $75,000 and $500,000 to patrons whose identities will remain undisclosed.

"Let's let foreign govts or anyone else funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars anonymously to POTUS's relatives through subjectively priced commodities like hotel charges, real estate purchases and art. Oh wait, no, art is COMPLETELY different. (sarcasm)," Shaub wrote in a tweet on Monday.

Shaub said selling to anonymous buyers could allow "influence seekers" to gain access to President Joe Biden's family.


"Just as hotel charges and real estate purchases created a risk of unknown parties funneling money to the Trump family for potentially unsavory purposes, Hunter Biden's grotesquely inflated art prices create a similar risk of influence-seekers funneling money to the Biden family," Shaub told Fox News on Monday.

The former ethics chief called on Hunter Biden and his art dealer, Georges Berges, to "disclose the identity of the purchasers" so the public can see if the buyers try to "gain access to [the] government." He also said the president should request his son not to move forward with the auction.

The Townsend Group, an agency representing Berges, previously said the decision to keep Biden's art customers "confidential" is standard practice among most mainstream auction houses.

"Pricing fine art in his experiences as a Gallerist is based on the demand of the work as well and the intrinsic value of it," the agency said in a statement. "His feeling is that within each piece — as with every artist, sales are always confidential to protect the privacy of the collector, this is standard practice for transactions in galleries as well as auction houses."

The president's 51-year-old son has no training in visual arts but claims he has been making art since he was a child. He revealed his artistic hobby in 2020 and has taken his creative efforts down a more serious career path in recent years, calling himself a "full-time artist."

Hunter Biden plans to debut his artwork in a New York gallery and a private showcase in Los Angeles this fall.


The Washington Examiner contacted the White House, Berges, and the Townsend Group but did not immediately receive a response.

Tags: News, Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Art History, Books & Arts, New York, Los Angeles, White House

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: Obama ethics chief warns of 'influence-seekers' buying Hunter Biden's art


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