Hunter Biden artwork attracts ethics scrutiny

Ohhh, this looks bad. Talk about your ‘appearance of impropriety.’

I thought we elected a new President and were – maybe – done with this kind of bullshit ?

Hunter Biden’s artwork (he created the pieces) will apparently be sold for $75,000 to $500,000 apiece.

Ethics experts are raising concerns about a reported agreement involving the White House that will keep secret the buyers of Hunter Biden’s artwork at an upcoming auction.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that White House officials helped draft a document stating that the names of the purchasers will be kept confidential, including from Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son.

The arrangement is intended to prevent buyers from purchasing the artwork to gain access or favor with the Biden administration, …

Seems like the right thing to do.

So what would you prefer- the names and amounts be public, so people could complain about that?

Other defenders have argued that Hunter Biden should be allowed to make money pursuing his own career, and they have noted former President Trump’s adult children continued to run his family business or serve in the White House while the former president frequently stayed at his own properties.

Again, this is not PRESIDENT Biden, this is his son, who holds no public office. And of course presidential relatives are allowed to hold jobs, earn income, etc.

This is a tempest in a teapot, and a ridiculous complaint.

True, it’s never good press for the Bidens when Hunter comes into any easy money.

But regarding a blind transaction? This is the opposite of bad. It’s engineered so the Bidens won’t know who they owe the favor of buying what I assume is overpriced crap. Like when Jimmy Carter put his business in a blind trust.

Contrast with the Trump crime family, who used… none of those ethical safeguards (to put it mildly). IIRC Ivanka kept flogging her designer handbags and had all sorts of patents to sell products in China. See the diff?

But is it any good? What if no one buys them? Has he sold artwork before? You would think that these type of questions would be asked first, if at all. This is a non-story.

How do they know the art works are going to sell for those kinds of prices?

Anyway, this comment seems to be to the point:

“The idea’s that even Hunter won’t know, but the WH has outsourced government ethics to a private art dealer,” Shaub continued in a lengthy Twitter thread. “We’re supposed to trust a merchant in an industry that’s fertile ground for money laundering, as well as unknown buyers who could tell Hunter or WH officials? No thanks.”

I think this is a pretty good point. The posters above assume that there is no way that either Biden will ever know who the purchasers are. How about if I take a photo of myself with the painting I bought, and send the photo to the President? Who is this art dealer who is “setting the values” of the paintings? What are the expectations of the purchasers? No, I think the motive for this scheme may have been innocent, but it was not well thought out.

So what you are saying that no relative of the President can sell any artwork, or write a book, or anything along those lines? That is ridiculous.

Can we apply that to Congress too? Does the name Elaine Chao ring any bells?

Then how does Hunter Biden, a private citizen, who holds no federal office, sell his artwork?

Just sell them like anyone else. And don’t allow the purchasers any particular influence on the President.

Neither of you have answered the objections raised in my previous post. This plan won’t work, whatever its motivations. All it does is remove transparency.

Then the same people complaining about this method, will complain loudly and bitterly that the large purchase prices is buying them influence. This is pure GOP propaganda, and no matter how Joe does it, they will castigate him.

The non-story is the best kind of story! A real scandal, like maintaining a private email server for official communications, has limits to how far it can go; there are only so many crimes you can plausibly speculate might have been committed, and when it ends up just looking like bumbling incompetence rather than intentional malfeasance it takes so much huffing and puffing to keep those embers burning. But a non-story invites all kinds of imaginative theorizing precisely because there is no evidence of wrongdoing; when there are no specific crimes or ethical violations, the sky is the limit on hypotheticals, and the best part is that you can’t be accused of libel or slander for “just asking questions.”

Hell, just ask John Kerry; he was accused of not being wounded or fighting in a war that military records clearly establish as facts, and that didn’t stop the Monty Python-esque “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” (cue Sousa’s “The Liberty Bell”) from making all sorts of wild accusations. One “Pizzagate” is worth a thousand “Quid Pro Quo”, amirite? I mean, everybody knows pizza joints are just a cover for nationwide paedophile rings, while Latin is a stupid dead language that only lawyers (“The first thing we do…”) and ponces bother to learn.

Conspiracy theories are much easier to maintain when they don’t contain a shred of factual basis that can be checked or disputed. You can bury a genuine conspiracy with enough deflection and spin, or just ignoring it until the gadlfies go away (see: Iran-Contra, manufactured evidence of WMD in Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Al-Amin al-Thaniyah air strike, January 6 Capital insurrection) but totally made up bullshit seeps through any net of fact-checking because there are no facts to check. This is a post-truth world that even Eric Blair would marvel in horror at, and the best ‘facts’ are the ‘alternative’ kind that you make up on the fly and deny later as fabrications of the ‘fake media’. Get with the program, man!

Stranger

And still no one has linked to his work. Just complaints about Hunter attempting to make a living. How about Ivana launching a fashion line while she was working at the White House? Where was your outcry then you?

How do other artists sell artwork? Through private dealers, I would suspect.

Or, maybe he should just put it up on eBay?

At an art fair in the street I guess. Like he shouldn’t have access to his own connections, like any other private citizen.

Hunter and his Dad won’t ever know who paid up to $500K for Hunter’s “art”, so no influence-peddling is conceivable. Yeah, surrre.

“…the gallery owner, Georges Bergès…will also reject any offer he deems suspicious, the Post said.”

That’s a howler. What, he’s going to refuse to turn over a purchase if the person making the pickup is wearing shades and a black trenchcoat, and driving an unmarked panel van?

“…So instead of disclosing who is paying outrageous sums for Hunter Biden’s artwork so that we could monitor whether the purchasers are gaining access to government, the WH tried to make sure we will never know who they are. That’s very disappointing,” tweeted Walter Shaub, who led the Office of Government Ethics from 2013 to 2017."

While it doesn’t reek of major scandal, it’s not a good start on Biden having “the most ethical Administration in history”.

*it’s possible that Hunter Biden is actually a huge undiscovered talent, with art worthy of hanging in the Ukrainian National Gallery.
**Hunter has made a good start on being Billy Carter II.

This is a ridiculous “scandal”. I hope Biden wears a tan suit and really gets tongues flapping.

A: Clearly, this is the break the Trump campaign was waiting for.
2: Also clearly, this just so they can hide that Biden is selling his Spirit Cooking paintings before Trump… I mean Q finally arrests them all for Pizzagate.

(checking watch) It’ s never too early to start ginning up Hunter Biden hate in time for the 2022 elections.

FYI, this article (paywall warning) from The New York Times of February 2020 shows some examples of the art.

So they go to the trouble to avoid the avoid even the appearance of impropriety, and people start going off about how that proves impropriety?

I like that they’re doing something. Yes, I can see going a more “full transparency” route as an option. But I can also foresee problems: any political action by the buyer from then on would be treated like influence. And, yes, I can see potential problems going the other direction.

No idea is perfect, but I see no reason to try to push this as being like Trump, who literally just did not care. If a politician feels they have to avoid the appearance of impropriety, then the easiest way to accomplish that is to not do anything improper. It’s a good thing when they feel such pressures.

And I really can’t look at the actual story as being a big deal. The bribes for congresspeople are much higher than this.

One thing that had me scratching my head is that I didn’t even know he was an artist yet his work is selling for $75k-$500k. Some artists don’t make $75k from their art in their lifetime. I looked at some of his art and I don’t really see how they would sell for those prices. But he does have some talent. I read a few articles and some people seem to genuinely like them. One article said: “Acevedo said his client’s art would most likely be priced at $25,000 to $100,000 if he wasn’t Potus’ son and he expects Hunter’s paintings to make more than $1million.”. So he’s getting a price boost from his name much like if anyone famous sold paintings, but his art would sell for some pretty good prices anyway.

However, I expect the right to make a ton of hay from this. Hunter is already one of their favorite targets and these sales can easily be spun as buying influence regardless of whether they are or not. Keeping the names confidential is almost a joke since it would be trivial for the buyer to make themselves known to Hunter since they would posses the actual painting they bought which would reveal they were the ones who bought it.