- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
A Republican lawmaker introduced a bill on Wednesday that would force the White House to disclose financial information related to sales of Hunter Biden's paintings, which will remain hidden from the first family and the public under an agreement with a New York art gallery.
The Preventing Anonymous Income by Necessitating Transparency of Executive Relatives Act, or PAINTER Act, would amend the Ethics in Government Act to mandate non-dependent children of the president be subject to the same disclosure responsibilities already dealt to the commander in chief's and vice president's spouses and dependent offspring. The legislation would require reporting of earned income over $1,000, honoraria totaling more than $200, and gifts "received due solely, or in part, to the non-dependent child’s relationship with the President or Vice President."
“Under this administration, we have witnessed shameless attempts to profit off Joe Biden’s presidency that jeopardize the integrity of the White House,” Rep. Mike Waltz of Florida said in a statement about his legislation. “Despite the Biden Administration’s silence on this issue, American citizens have a right to know who is attempting to purchase access to the White House through an ‘artist,’ Hunter Biden, with no established credentials to warrant such enormous profits. The PAINTER Act will put transparency first in the White House and shed light on the actions of the adult children of the President or Vice President that can be used to influence their parent’s position of power.”
If the bill passes, Hunter Biden, 51, would likely be required to disclose the sale of his paintings, which are priced between $75,000 and $500,000, according to a spokesman for the SoHo New York Gallery. However, with Democrats controlling Congress, who have spent little time focused on the Hunter Biden art controversy, the legislation's chances seem slim.
Last week, it was revealed Hunter Biden was expected to fraternize with guests in person at a small event in Los Angeles and a larger showing in New York City to present his creations. When asked if the younger Biden would be present, a spokesperson for the gallery told CBS News, "Oh yes. With pleasure. He's looking forward to it. It is like someone debuting in the world. And of course, he will be there. "
The development created a whole new ethics quandary as the gallery previously vowed to withhold transactional records from the exhibits, including the identities of bidders, final buyers, and the amounts paid for the artwork. The agreement is supposed to keep buyers' identities secret from Hunter Biden, the White House, and the public, although enforcement of that deal remains a murky subject.
Hunter Biden will not discuss pricing or purchase details during either of the art shows, a source told CBS News, but questions remain.
"Is Hunter Biden going to walk around the art show with a blindfold on?" said Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics during President Barack Obama's administration. "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."
Similar concerns were voiced earlier in the month, even as the White House defended the handling of Hunter Biden's debut art show.
“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,” said former Bush administration chief ethics lawyer Richard Painter, pointing to the art’s “awfully high prices.”
“The whole thing is a really bad idea,” Painter, who served under former President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, told the Washington Post.
The lack of transparency and the younger Biden’s own spotty background also cause concern.
“Because we don’t know who is paying for this art, and we don’t know for sure that [Hunter Biden] knows, we have no way of monitoring whether people are buying access to the White House,” Shaub said.
He added: “What these people are paying for is Hunter Biden’s last name.”
The White House helped form the ethics agreement, with the art gallery selling the younger Biden's paintings.
“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,” said Andrew Bates, the deputy White House press secretary, in a statement earlier this month.
Washington Examiner Videos
Original Author: Jake Dima