Seeking to quell criticism over the Biden family's latest effort to monetize the family name, the White House last week defended the president's son, Hunter Biden and his upcoming art show. To keep influence-seekers from gaining credit with the Biden family, the White House says the names of buyers who purchase paintings created by the president's son will be kept anonymous.
Though that might theoretically keep Biden in the dark about which foreign government may be willing to pony up for Hunter Biden's art, ultimately it is a convenient, non-transparent relationship with the White House and the president. It still allows Hunter Biden to continue the family business -- cashing in on their association with Joe Biden.
Hunter Biden's own art representative was quoted acknowledging that the Biden name, rather than the quality of the art, is integral to the value of the pieces. "People buy art not just for the exchange value," Georges Berges told Women's Wear Daily. "There is an intrinsic value. It gives you a sense of status. People buy a Picasso or a Warhol for a variety of reasons. They want to hang it in their homes to show their friends they have one. That could be a motivation for a Hunter Biden — for status or whatever reason. That also affects price."
A better solution, promoted by Oregon Artswatch Senior Editor Bob Hicks, would have been to keep the seller, rather than the buyers, anonymous. "Instead of insisting the buyers be anonymous, maybe the artist should have been anonymous, or creating under a different name. Why not take 'Hunter Biden' out of the equation, at least until his father's out of the White House, and let the art find it's natural economic level?"
Why not? Why do you think? What is the art worth without the Biden name attached to it?
Hunter Biden is a novice artist. Yet his work is being priced as high as $500,000. Meanwhile, an actual genuine Picasso painting recently discovered in the closet of a Maine home just sold at auction for $150,000. Would anyone buy Hunter Biden's art if it didn't have the name Hunter Biden on it?
Unfortunately, this has been the pattern of the Biden family – to monetize the political value of the Biden name for personal gain. Books have been written documenting the well-established pattern of Biden family members who cashed in during the time Joe Biden served as vice president.
And it hasn't stopped. Frank Biden, the president's brother, created a stir during the inauguration when the law firm with which he works prominently featured him in their advertising. He isn't a lawyer. He does "government relations."
The advertisement made clear what value those relations have. Promoting the shared values of the two Biden brothers, the advertorial cited the firm's suit against sugar cane growers, "filed against the backdrop of incoming President Joseph Biden Jr.'s commitment to environmental and social justice. . ."
For his part, Hunter Biden has made a career out of hanging onto his father's coattails. In 2006 he was appointed to the board of Amtrak, despite having no transportation experience. But his father's colleagues in the Senate approved the nomination, with Delaware Senator Tom Carper summing up Hunter's qualifications: "Hunter Biden has spent a lot of time on Amtrak trains." No kidding.
Hunter Biden was able to parlay that experience in corporate governance into a sweet $50,000 a month gig on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. Again, he had no experience in the energy sector, in foreign relations, or in that part of the world.
He went on to write a memoir, "Beautiful Things," which was published in 2021 and for which he received an undisclosed advance and payment. Even with the famous Biden name, it has sold less than 25,000 copies since publication according to Bookscan.
The grift continues now in the art world, which the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations identified as an "ideal playing ground for money laundering." The bipartisan Senate report, produced in July 2020 before the need to defend Hunter Biden arose, documented how Russian oligarchs used art transactions to evade U.S. sanctions.
This past week Republicans on the House Oversight Committee launched an investigation of the Biden family's business dealings. Their request for documents cited widespread "reports of President Biden using his former official positions of public trust to swell the coffers of his family members" that are "disturbing and recurring."
It may take a new Republican House majority in 2022 to get to the bottom of the Biden family's alleged corruption. But House Republicans and their constituents should keep up the pressure.