Press secretary Jen Psaki defended Hunter Biden’s agreement with a New York City gallery that will allow him to sell his art anonymously.
“A system has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within reasonable safeguards. Of course, he has the right to pursue an artistic career,” she told reporters Friday about the agreement. Ethics experts have expressed concern that Biden’s paintings will be used as a way to buy access to the White House, since they will be sold for thousands of dollars.
Psaki did not answer a question as to whether or not the White House was involved in setting up the sales process.
“All interactions regarding the selling of art and the setting of prices will be handled by a professional gallerist adhering to the highest industry standards,” she continued. “Any offer out of the normal course will be rejected out of hand. The gallerist will not share information about buyers or prospective buyers, including their identities, with Hunter Biden or the administration, which provides quite a level of protection and transparency.”
“I think it would be challenging for someone that we don’t know, and that Hunter Biden does not know, to have influence,” she added.
Hunter Biden’s art is expected to sell for prices starting at $75,000.
“Anybody who buys it would be guaranteed instant profit … He’s the president’s son. Everybody would want a piece of that,” Alex Acevedo, who owns the Alexander Gallery in Midtown Manhattan, told the New York Post.
Hunter reached an agreement in December 2020 with the Georges Berges Gallery to show his art. The gallery will also manage sales.
The price of the art and nature of the industry alarmed several government ethics experts. Money launderers often use art purchases to conceal their activities.
“Because we don’t know who is paying for this art and we don’t know for sure that [Hunter Biden] knows, we have no way of monitoring whether people are buying access to the White House,” Obama White House ethics chief Walter Schaub said. “What these people are paying for is Hunter Biden’s last name.”
“The whole thing is a really bad idea,” Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer to President George W. Bush added. “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.” (RELATED: Witness No More—Hunter Biden Embraces Life As An Artist, And The NYT Is Here For It)
Accusations of familial ethics improprieties dogged President Joe Biden throughout his candidacy and into office. Hunter Biden was paid $50,000 a month to sit on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company. Hunter and Joe’s brother James Biden also attempted to access millions of dollars in funding from a Chinese energy company with ties to the People’s Liberation Army.
Another Biden brother, Frank, used the 2021 presidential inauguration in his Florida law firm’s promotional materials.