Firewall between Hunter Biden and prospective art buyers won't be breached by gallery events, White House insists

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Firewall between Hunter Biden and prospective art buyers won't be breached by gallery events, White House insists
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Hunter Biden will promote his artwork at bicoastal gallery events but won't meet with prospective buyers, the White House said, creating a firewall ethics experts say is highly porous and susceptible to graft.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the arrangement Friday, arguing neither they nor the president's son will know who buys the work.

"The selling of his art will all happen through the gallerist, and the names and individuals will be kept confidential," Psaki said when asked how the administration could guarantee the buyers' privacy. "He will not know, we will not know who purchases his art."

ETHICS EXPERTS CONCERNED ABOUT HUNTER BIDEN'S ART SHOW

Georges Berges Gallery announced shows in Los Angeles and New York City later this year to promote Biden's paintings, telling CBS, “He’s looking forward to it. It is like someone debuting in the world. And of course, he will be there.”

Pieces could fetch up to $500,000, according to the gallery's estimates.

Despite attending the events, Biden would not be glad-handing with art buyers, Psaki said.

"[Hunter Biden] is attending gallery events that had been prior planned and announced. Those [sales] discussions will be happening with the gallerist, but that is different than meeting with prospective buyers," she added.

Art world insiders and ethics experts have panned the arrangement, charging it amounts to thinly veiled corruption.

"To those saying it’s fine that Hunter Biden shows his generic decorative zombie-abstraction art at a commercial gallery & sells it: Imagine if Donald Trump Jr (coke addict) made little watercolors like these & sold them at an iffy commercial gallery for upwards of $150,000," tweeted Jerry Saltz, senior art critic at New York Magazine.

He added: "Now imagine all the foreign agents, fishy businessmen, lobbyists, politicos buying the work & back room deals. The potential for conflict of interest is enormous & dangerous."

Instead, Saltz proposed Biden follow the footsteps of former President George W. Bush to "make your work; show it at a non-profit; no sales."

Obama ethics czar Walter Shaub told CBS the White House seemed to be “outsourcing government ethics” to the gallery.

"Is Hunter Biden going to walk around the art show with a blindfold on?" said Shaub, former director of Office of Government Ethics. "It just goes to show you the focus isn't on government ethics. It's just showing the child of a president can cash in on the presidency."

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The White House has rejected the criticism repeatedly, stating the administration adheres to the "highest ethical standards."

“The president has established the highest ethical standards of any administration in American history, and his family’s commitment to rigorous processes like this is a prime example,” the White House said in a statement this month.

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Tags: News, Biden Administration, White House, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Art, Ethics

Original Author: Katherine Doyle

Original Location: Firewall between Hunter Biden and prospective art buyers won't be breached by gallery events, White House insists