OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden is about to come under more scrutiny than he ever has before.
That is because Republican members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee have started investigating “possible undue White House influence” involved with the coming sale of some of Hunter’s artwork, CBS News reported.
Kentucky Rep. James Comer penned a letter to Georges Bergès, the gallerist who is handling the sales of Biden’s paintings, requesting that he give the committee documents pertaining to his communications with Hunter and the White House by September 21.
“The New York Times recently profiled your gallery regarding its sale of paintings by Hunter Biden, who overnight has become an artist and member of the avant-garde. As you are undoubtedly aware, the president’s son selling artwork has generated numerous questions surrounding the ethics and propriety of such actions. The Committee has previously requested documents and information from the White House, and as owner of the art gallery selling Mr. Biden’s work, we write to request documents and information from you,” the Congressman said in the letter.
“The Georges Bergès Gallery, described by the Times as ‘a relatively little-known newcomer’ to New York’s art scene, will sell fifteen works from the ‘fledgling artist,’ Mr. Biden, who ‘happens’ to be the president’s son. Though the White House has attempted to allay concerns about the appearance of selling access to the president by developing guidelines for your gallery, these guidelines actually create more obscurity for the buyers of Mr. Biden’s compositions, each of which—at their lowest prices—exceeds the median annual income for the American household. According to the Times, the prices, ranging from $75,000 to $500,000, are an “eyebrow raiser” and involve sums that other artists—with ‘real careers’—may not even ‘sell . . . cumulatively over 10 years.’
“The prices your gallery has set for these pieces by a new, untrained, celebrity artist are unprecedented. One New York art adviser said such prices are ‘sort of insulting to the art ecosystem, as if anyone could do it.’ Mr. Biden himself admitted that he would be ‘amazed if [his] art had sold for $10.’ The prices your gallery will be charging for Mr. Biden’s work are thousands of times greater than the artist’s own valuation of his work, underscoring the prices you chose and raising further questions about possible influence-seeking by those purchasing the art,” he said.
“Mr. Biden made clear his opinion of those who would evaluate his motives, saying ‘f— ‘em’ on a recent podcast. This is an insult to all other artists—those who have trained and worked for years to establish themselves in the art world. Given Mr. Biden’s previous roles as lawyer, lobbyist, and ill-defined executive for an international fossil fuel corporation, the latest chapter in—as you describe it—his ‘heroic journey’ is subject to skepticism,” he said.
He asked the broker to help “with its investigation of possible undue White House influence.”
He requested “All documents and communications between you, the Georges Bergès Gallery (or agents thereof) and the White House, including a copy of the ethics guidelines; All documents and communications between you, the Georges Bergès Gallery (or agents thereof) and Mr. Biden; All guidelines, agreements, contracts, or other documents executed by you or the Georges Bergès Gallery (or agents thereof) in connection with Mr. Biden; All documents and communications pertaining to setting the prices for Mr. Biden’s art; A copy of the ethics guidelines, created in conjunction with the White House, pertaining to Mr. Biden’s art; Documents sufficient to show who attended the opening of Mr. Biden’s shows; and Documents sufficient to show who purchased Mr. Biden’s artwork.”
But because the Republicans are in the minority they do not have subpoena power and would need the Democrats’ help in getting the information if the broker did not comply.