Analysis

‘Potential For Bribery’: Media Silent About Hunter Biden’s Anonymous ‘Art’ Sales

   DailyWire.com
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: World Food Program USA Board Chairman Hunter Biden (L) and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden attend the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA)
Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA

Hunter Biden, who has held a number of well-compensated positions during his life, is poised to make millions by selling his artwork to anonymous buyers, who could include foreign actors. Yet despite the inherent potential for influence peddling, the legacy media — which spent the last five years questioning every detail of the Trump family’s business deals — have not reported a single story about the latest possible Biden bribery scandal.

Hunter Biden produces abstract works of art by blowing alcohol ink through a metal straw. His creations will receive an exhibition in New York City, where experts believe they will sell for up to $1 million apiece. The floor for a Hunter Biden original is reportedly $75,000.

That’s well above the average starving artist, whom the industry website ArtBusiness encouarges to “pay yourself $20 an hour for your art,” although if your art “turns out to be more expensive than what other artists in your area charge for similar art, you may have to rethink your pricing, [and] pay yourself a little less per hour perhaps.”

But Hunter Biden is no average man. Alex Acevedo, who owns Manhattan’s Alexander Gallery, told the New York Post that “anybody who buys [Biden’s art] would be guaranteed instant profit,” because “he’s the president’s son. Everybody would want a piece of that.” Another art consultant, Martin Galindo, told the Post, “I’m very positive that he’s gonna do well in the market, because this industry is very much about, what’s a simple way to put this — it’s like clout.”

But who will be getting “a piece” of the Biden scion’s “clout”? Whose money might funnel into the hands of the Biden family through an art auction? The art world shrouds Hunter Biden’s financial transactions in secrecy.

“Sales are always confidential to protect the privacy of the collector,” said The Townsend Group, which represents Biden, in a media statement. “This is standard practice for transactions in galleries as well as auction houses.”

The potential to abuse these opaque transactions is well known. “The art world has a money laundering problem,” reported CNN last July. The U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report last July which said “[s]ecrecy, anonymity, and a lack of regulation create an environment ripe for laundering money and evading sanctions.” Even the few anti-laundering policies employed by auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s are “lax” and “easily circumvented.”

In a Fox News op-ed, former Congressman Jason Chaffetz called Hunter Biden’s anonymous art auction “an open invitation to influence buyers”:

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?  

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.

Yet there has been no coverage from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, The Associated Press, Reuters, NBC News, ABC News, or CBS News. Only one of these outlets, The New York Times, reported on Biden’s artwork in a celebratory human interest story titled “There’s a New Artist in Town. The Name Is Biden.” The story mentions the first son’s desire to break into the art world but says nothing about the art world’s sales anonymity.

It also refers to Biden’s enormous payments by the Ukrainian energy company Burisma while his father was vice president as “curious overseas dealings.”

Compare that to media treatment of the Trump family’s business dealings. Critics tried to impeach Trump for allegedly violating the emolouments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which legal experts said is inapplicable to the Trump Organization’s business dealings.

The world’s largest news agency, The Associated Press, held Donald Trump’s family retroactively accountable for foreign agreements signed before he ever became president. After spending an entire story listing Trump’s foreign deals, the AP noted in the next-to-the-last paragraph, “All the projects were signed before President Trump took office, but promoting even existing business has raised ethics concerns.”

The AP did the same last September after The New York Times published an unverified report that Trump ran up $421 million in debt over an 18-year period almost exclusively before he took office. The AP article claimed that “ethics experts see national security concern in Trump’s debt.” The first “expert” quoted was Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who said Trump “may be vulnerable to financial blackmail from a hostile foreign power and God knows what else.” Only 27 paragraphs into the story does the reporter cite anyone blunting the torrent of accusations … and only for one paragraph.

After assuming office, the accusations continued. MSNBC claimed that Trump’s company is “literally selling access to the president’s son overseas.” When President Trump kept his campaign promise to donate all profits earned overseas to the U.S. Treasury — cutting the government a check for $191,000 — ABC News reported, “Government ethics watchdogs and congressional Democrats have questioned the president’s pledge in the past.” MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” tried to turn the retirement of a banker tied to Donald Trump into a scandal (although retirement at 60 is far from unusual in Europe).

After Hunter Biden promised to avoid foreign business if his father became president, The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote that the media should take it easy on him and “focus on the real corruption” of the Trump family. “Ivanka, Jared, Eric and Donald Trump Jr. have been given the kid glove treatment by the media,” Rubin asserted.

The Washington Post criticized “the continued existence of Trump properties around the world,” such as the president’s golf course in Scotland. (Apparently upon taking office, Trump should have napalmed his course into oblivion.)

The media’s interest in business transparency has evaporated now that Hunter Biden has decided to ply his trade in an industry with an acknowledged money laundering problem. Chaffetz noted the media’s double standard:

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.”

To alleviate bribery concerns, Chaffetz said that Hunter Biden should voluntarily disclose the name of everyone who purchases any piece of his art. “Let the public scrutinize the buyers and their motives,” he wrote.

Let the public also scrutinize the media’s selective coverage, which tells a great deal about their motives.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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