Hunter Biden was seen on Friday at a New York City art exhibition where his artwork is on sale for sky-high prices.
The hefty price tags and secret buyers combine to make Hunter Biden’s art sales an ethical swamp, according to a former director of the Office of Government Ethics.
“The notion of a president’s son capitalizing on that relationship by selling art at obviously inflated prices and keeping the public in the dark about who’s funneling money to him has a shameful and grifty feel to it,” Walter Shaub, director of the office under former President Barack Obama, said last year, according to Fox News.
Shaub said at the time that Hunter Biden’s paintings might not be what the buyers are paying for.
“We have no way of monitoring whether people are buying access to the White House. … What these people are paying for is Hunter Biden’s last name,” he said, according to The Washington Post.
Richard Painter, who served from 2005 to 2007 as the chief ethics lawyer to former President George W. Bush, said lobbyists or foreign governments could be behind the purchases.
“The whole thing is a really bad idea,” Painter said. “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. I mean, those are awfully high prices.”
The art gallery displaying Hunter Biden’s artwork told Fox News that the pieces are going for between $65,000 and $200,000. The Post reported that Hunter Biden’s pieces have previously been listed for as much as $500,000.
Shaub said the “grotesquely inflated” prices mean that there is a risk of “influence-seekers funneling money to the Biden family.”
“He can’t possibly think anyone is paying him based on the quality of the art,” Shaub said. “This smells like an attempt to cash in on a family connection to the White House.”
President Joe Biden should be asking his son not to sell his art, he said, adding that art dealer Georges Berges and Hunter Biden “should disclose the identity of the purchasers” so Americans can decide if buyers are trying to “gain access to government.”
The Townsend Group, which represents Berges, has told Fox Business that there is nothing unusual about keeping the identities of buyers private.
Speaking of Berges, the firm said, “Pricing fine art in his experiences as a Gallerist is based on the demand of the work as well and the intrinsic value of it. … As with every artist, sales are always confidential to protect the privacy of the collector, this is standard practice for transactions in galleries as well as auction houses.”
But Shaub is adamant that something smells.
“There is simply no way an artist who has never even [journeyed] into a community center art fair is going to suddenly show up in New York selling art for half a million a pop,” Shaub said on Law & Crime’s “Objections” podcast, according to Fox.
Hunter Biden is raking in cash for “being the president’s son, not for being an artist, and I just think that’s absolutely appalling,” Shaub said.
Republicans have said an investigation into Hunter Biden’s activities and connections will take place once they assume a majority in the House next month, Fox reported.
“The American people deserve transparency and accountability about the Biden family’s influence peddling. With the new Republican majority, Oversight Committee Republicans will continue pressing for answers to inform legislative solutions to prevent this abuse of power,” Republican Rep. James Comer of Kentucky said last month.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.