The top Republican on the House Oversight Committee is demanding that the gallery owner showcasing Hunter Biden’s art detail what ethics measures he is taking to prevent buyers from gaining illicit influence with the White House.
Rep. James Comer (R-KY) wrote a letter on Thursday to Hunter’s New York art dealer, Georges Berges, requesting that he provide the committee with documents on the ethics guidelines reached with the White House as well as information on the buyers and potential buyers of the younger Biden’s art, including “documents and communications pertaining to setting the prices for Mr. Biden’s art.”
“The documents requested from you will inform and are pertinent to our oversight of any attempts to seek improper influence with the Biden Administration by anonymous benefactors, and understanding the process you are purportedly undertaking to shield the Administration from any influence by those procuring Mr. Biden’s art,” Comer wrote in the letter, which was sent on Thursday.
“This investigation, which includes your gallery’s role in Mr. Biden’s plans, is meant to prevent fairly obvious opportunities for an ethical or national security breach,” Comer wrote.
This is the second letter Comer has sent to the gallery owner this month requesting documents relating to the sale of Hunter’s art pieces.
The scandal-plagued son of President Biden has embraced a new life as a full-time artist and is getting his paintings shown this fall in Los Angeles and New York City, where they are expected to fetch upwards of $1 million each.
“We won’t know who they are, so there’s no scenario where they could provide influence,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in July of potential purchasers of Biden’s art.
The younger Biden’s abstract paintings and collages, which sometimes resemble bacteria under a microscope, sometimes depict human body parts, were initially set to sell for $75,000 for works on paper and $500,000 for large paintings, but that number has increased.
“I don’t paint from emotion or feeling, which I think are both very ephemeral,” Biden said in a June interview with artnet.com. “For me, painting is much more about kind of trying to bring forth what is, I think, the universal truth.”
The president’s son, 51, has no formal art training but has been reportedly creating art since he was very young.
The lawyer, former lobbyist, and former drug addict has been dogged by high-profile political and personal scandals, some of them salacious.
In leaked emails from 2014 reported by the New York Post, Biden appears to try to leverage his influence with his father, who was vice president at the time and heavily involved in U.S. policy on Ukraine. Biden referenced his father in negotiations regarding his lucrative position on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma.
Asked in June what his father thinks of his art, Biden responded, “My dad loves everything that I do, and so I’ll leave it at that.”