Who just paid $500,000 to buy a painting from novice artist Hunter Biden? We don't know.
Art dealer Georges Berges says the names of various buyers will be kept confidential. But Hunter’s art is being priced between $75,000 and half a million – an impressive sum for a neophyte, particularly one with no formal training.
But before anyone gets too impressed, let's think for a minute how convenient this arrangement might be for anyone wanting to buy access to the president of the United States.
Art is subjective. Who is to say just how much any piece is worth? The purchases are confidential. Who is to know if it's a foreign government, a drug cartel, or a Ukrainian oligarch buying access to the artist or his family?
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Given the history of this particular son of this particular president, who could blame an oligarch for wanting to try?
We already know Hunter Biden has a history of leveraging his relationship with his father to score lucrative business deals and board positions. We already know President Biden has a history of meeting with his son's clients and lying about it.
Even if everything about this were above board, it’s a magnet for corruption. And I don't think for a minute that everything about this is above board. With an art show scheduled in New York this fall, Hunter Biden's new status as a serious artist is an open invitation to influence buyers.
Just last summer, a U.S. Senate report detailed how Russian oligarchs are using the art world to launder money.
Just last summer, a U.S. Senate report detailed how Russian oligarchs are using the art world to launder money. "Secrecy, anonymity and a lack of regulation create an environment ripe for laundering money and evading sanctions," the report concluded. The Senate investigation found auction houses like Sotheby's and Christy's had anti-money laundering safeguards that were "lax" and "easily circumvented."
Asked what his father thinks of his art, Hunter Biden told Artnet News, "My dad loves everything that I do, and so, I'll leave it at that." No doubt. But President Biden needs to nip this problem in the bud.
To alleviate any concerns, Hunter Biden should, at a minimum, fully disclose who purchases his art. He can voluntarily provide public disclosure. Nothing is prohibiting him from releasing who his clients are. Let the public scrutinize the buyers and their motives.
After four years of unending exasperation from Democrats about the dealings of the Trump legitimate businesses, established before Donald Trump entered the political world, it would be reasonable to expect Hunter Biden to get some level of scrutiny. A few questions perhaps?
Have we heard a Democrat mention the "emoluments clause" yet? I don’t think so.
Hunter Biden started marketing his art after daddy was running for president. Now that dad is the president, suddenly critics are gushing about how good it is, and it’s value will certainly rise.
With money flowing by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, it’s time for Hunter Biden to show some responsibility and accountability by disclosing who is writing these big checks.