Hunter Biden artwork attracts ethics scrutiny

No, Hunter doesn’t know either. And trust me, it is not that easy to bribe a President. Well, except trump, of course.

When Joe starts giving out rail car contracts, we should scrutinize those.

Oh FFS, another post comparing this to Hillary’s emails. Let’s compare and contrast.

“President’s son, an adult private citizen, sells some art for more than it would go for if he weren’t the President’s son”.

“Secretary of State illegally conducts sensitive government business on secret, private, potentially hackable e-mail server”

One of these is an actual scandal, the other is a slow news day on Fox.

(Obligatory disclaimer: although I believe the private e-mail server was a serious issue which would make a reasonable person question Ms. Clinton’s fitness for high office, only a moron would consider it serious enough to justify voting against her in the context of that particular election)

I don’t want to get back into the circular arguments about ethics, but this bit really stood out to me. I don’t know much about the art world, but that’s not my understanding of how any of this works. But, as I don’t know very much about the art world, I could very well be very wrong about it.

My understanding is that there are registries for certain important artists that identify their known works and what publicly available information on the provenance of each work. But I didn’t think there is any sort of general public registry of artwork.

From my understanding, “provenance” is not usually established through publicly accessible registries (although any publicly acknowledged sales, of course, would be part of any chain of provenance).

In this case, to establish provenance, if you’re the original buyer, you’d just need the sales receipt/certificate of authenticity, which as the buyer you would have, and which would identify the artwork as a Genuine Hunter Biden. If you sell it, as part of that sale, you’d provide authentication documentation to the seller, and so on. There’d be a chain of paperwork documenting each sale, so provenance could be established for the next buyer.

But none of that would be in a public registry in any case, regardless of any “blind sales” arrangements. It’s my understanding that private art sales are quite common, and don’t break the chain of provenance.

As far as I know, the only difference with the proposed “blind sales” arrangement is that at the first step, Hunter Biden doesn’t know who you, the buyer, are. But that has nothing to do with the artwork’s provenance. To establish provenance, the current owner just needs to show a chain of ownership going back to the original artist, and that doesn’t require the artist to know the identity of the original purchaser.

Or do I have all of that completely wrong?

Well, until “being a moron” is a condition which disqualifies someone from voting, the Democrats should be very concerned what morons believe. If enough morons believe Hunter’s painting sales are corrupt, the more votes go against Biden. So far plenty of morons have been sucked in with these two manufactured scandals:

  • Private citizen Hunter Biden being on the board of a Ukrainian company
  • Private citizen Hunter Biden taking his laptop to a repair shop

And next in the pipeline is private citizen Hunter Biden selling abstract art for more than most morons make in a lifetime.

And even though I don’t think there’s any influence with the painting sales, it would be trivial for there to be influence. It’s not like Hunter is some rando citizen. He’s the son of the President. If the Democrats use a strategy of “Hunter is a private citizen”, that’s just more of that sweet moron bait the RW can use to build up their base.

You are correct - there is not a general registry for artwork the way most people purchase it. However, artists and dealers DO keep a record of who bought what so they can market to them in future through invitations to openings, etc.

Any painting that commands a half-million is being valued for the exceptional genius of the artist (are you laughing yet?) who has produced a body of work famous world wide and which provides art critics with fodder for their pronouncements on the interpretations of texture, passion and deeper meaning of the work (doesn’t apply here). Such a work is valued for more than an attractive picture that will finish a room. It is an investment that art dealers and collectors hope to turn for profit. Like any commodity, there is criteria for the cost basis and expectation that it will hold it’s value. You don’t have to be particularly learned in art history or collections to see how completely out of league Bidens blow art is.
I could maybe believe it was purchased as the print for a kids bedspread - that’s as far as the plausibility goes.

This is why this story strikes me as so ludicrous. In whose imagination is Hunter Biden a commodity? It is like a living Emperor’s New Clothes playing out before our eyes. Biden could further humiliate the buyers by tearing out a coloring page and selling it for thousands of dollars and those schmucks would probably grab it up.

Regardless if Hunter or old Joe know who is buying it, one has to seriously question WHO would EVER pay more than $10 for this most crass product. What fools!

Maybe not influence peddling, but certainly a way to circumvent campaign finance laws, or maybe build up the coffers to defend against all the lawsuits coming down the pike.

Of course the Pubbies are going to fling shit around and their moronic base will eat it up.
But there are also swing voters who can distinguish between bullshit and real scandals.

And I’ve lost track of who’s said what in this thread, but what would you propose as a remedy? Nobody related to the President should ever be allowed to earn any money? How far out does that go? Second cousins? What about close friends? How about if you were the President’s best friend in second grade but haven’t spoken to him since? Are you allowed to have a job then? Maybe everyone from the President’s home State should be forbidden to engage in any form of commerce, just to avoid any appearance of impropriety?

Like, not to be snarky (well, not just to be snarky), what are you asking for here? Are you saying that Hunter had bad judgment in doing this thing that Fox can spin into looking corrupt? Well, that’s arguable. Are you saying Joe should have advised him not to do it? Maybe he did; we have no way of knowing.

Are you suggesting that, instead of pointing out that this manufactured “scandal” is complete BS, it would be better political strategy for Democrats to join in attacking the President over this issue? I respectfully disagree.

The price of art depends greatly on who the artist is. Famous artists get to sell their stuff for more money, even if what they’re famous for has nothing to do with art. This is not news.

Check out this John Lennon doodle that sold for $109,000. It’s pretty crappy. I wouldn’t pay $109,000 for it, and if I found it lying in the street and didn’t know who’d done it, I wouldn’t bother to pick it up.

But if you gave it to me as a gift, I would be totally stoked, put in a nice frame and display it prominently, because John Lennon was awesome and I would be happy to have this small tangible connection to him.

I confess that, like you, I find it hard to imagine who would feel that kind of enthusiasm for Hunter Biden. But there are a lot of rich liberals out there, and he only needs to find a few of them who are that particular type of weird. Maybe they think it is an investment and will appreciate in value? Doubtful IMO, but people make bad investments all day every day.

Unless you START from the assumption that the Bidens are crooks, I don’t see any reason to think this is some sort of scam to violate campaign finance laws. Sure, it potentially could be, but so could literally any instance of anyone associated with the President earning money.

I’m curious, do the people who have a problem with this think Chelsea Clinton’s book deal for a nondisclosed but presumably very large sum of money was a problem? Or do you think she got that based solely on the objective quality of her writing?

Why are folks in this thread going on about theoretical influence peddling instead of actually doing it? You have a once in a lifetime opportunity here folks! For somewhere south of $100k you can own a piece of mediocre art that has the bonus effect of making the current President of the United States absolutely beholden to your wishes! When has there ever been such a bargain? (I mean, Trump would sell the whole damn country out for a cheeseburger from McDonalds but with his ADD he can’t be counted on to actually get stuff done so you’d have wasted a dollar and a cheeseburger for nothing.) Good old Sleepy Joe has nothing better to do than fulfill your wishes! One painting, at a price far less than that of a single Tomahawk missile and you can get Biden to overthrow the regime of your choice! Got political opponents? He’ll sic Killary on them! All you have to do is buy the painting! You could even tell Biden you’re going to piss on it after you leave the White House (which is partially yours now because of your generous “donation” to the Failson Fund) and he’s just going to have to nod sagely in abject humiliation! What a deal!

Again, I don’t want to get back into the circular arguments in this thread about ethics and influence peddling, but I am curious about the actual mechanics of the sales, which has been kind of glossed over by everybody. To get back to this,

How, exactly, does the “blind sales” arrangement differ from the usual practice of private art sales?

You’ve also claimed,

In what way are the “donors names” being “kept secret”? If Hunter Biden were selling his artwork through normal private sales practices, would there be a public record of the buyers’ names? How, exactly, does the “blind sales” arrangement shield buyers’ identity from the public - and how, exactly, does that differ from normal private art sales practice?

Now this is a work of art!

Well, the emails turned out to be not that bad, although it was a very real issue. Turned out that a LOT of congressmen, etc all did the same thing. Not that give Mrs. Clinton a pass.

But what is the solution? Besides of course lining up all the Fox news and Conservative Radio talk show hosts against the wall?

I think the Dems should deal with the reality of the situation. Nitpicking about rules and laws are for the lawyers to do in the courtroom. Politicians are elected by the court of public opinion. The Dems need to placate the public as much as possible. Obviously they can’t convince all the morons and conspiracy nuts, but they can come up with messages that address the concerns of the general public rather than some things that a lawyer might present in a court case.

For the paintings, I think the WH should have messaging like:

  • “We have directed the ethics office to proactively look for conflict of interests with regards to buyers and WH policies”
  • “Should any WH staff learn of any buyer attempting to curry favor with this administration, the staff has been directed to inform the ethics office immediately. The President himself set this policy and will do the same if anyone approaches him directly or indirectly.”
  • “If any buyer is hoping to buy influence with their purchase, all they’re going to end up with is a beautiful painting to hang on the wall.”

Things like that will show that they are taking the potential for influence buying seriously. They should not try to get the public to forget about it because the politicians said it’s nothing to worry about and the public should just trust the politicians. They should show that they do worry about undue influence and are actively working to prevent it. It won’t prevent all morons from latching onto it, but it can help lessen the impact and limit how long the RW can churn over it.

Yeah, I see no reason to attribute any motivation to Hillary more nefarious than “I’m old and don’t want to figure out how computers work”. And as you point out she was far from the only offender. Still, it was an actual security risk.

I think that’s exactly what they’ve done with the blind sale arrangement. Sure, it could theoretically be circumvented fairly easily, but I think they’ve done all they reasonably can in that area.

The messaging you suggest – acknowledging the potential for conflicts of interest and explaining how you’re addressing them – would be helpful if this became a real issue. So far, I haven’t heard anything about this issue anywhere other than this thread. I think the WH making an official statement right now would only draw attention to the “controversy” and increase the risk that it will spread from the Breitbart bubble into the mainstream population.

Yes, and a black mark against her, no doubt. Compared to the 10000 black marks on trump.

I heard someone that’s involved in this made-up controversy interviewed on NBC last night. When Lester Holt asked the money question ………how do you think this situation should be handled - do you have a better idea?….all he could come up with was “Joe should tell his son he can’t sell his artwork until he leaves office.

The idea of “blinding” the sales is based on the idea of the blind trust, the time-honored method in which businesspeople who go into public service manage their portfolios. I agree that the concept doesn’t translate well to non-monetary portfolios — but to hear Republicans complain that the “blind trust” concept is corrupt, that’s the height of gaslighting.

Have any of ever considered that Joe Biden has been in public service for 50 years, and no one ever questioned his son’s qualifications for his livelihood until Donald Trump conspired to have him imprisoned and tortured in a foreign country?

The same nonsensical idea was advanced in this thread as well.