First son Hunter Biden is expected to meet with prospective buyers at shows carrying his art work later this year in New York and Los Angeles, raising new ethical concerns about influence peddling tied to the sales, according to a report.
President Biden’s son is expected to appear at during a private affair in Los Angeles and a larger show in the Big Apple, Georges Berges Gallery spokeswoman Robin Davis told CBS News.
“He’s looking forward to it. It is like someone debuting in the world. And of course he will be there,” Davis said.
Davis said the the potential buyers “will be vetted … so whomever is appropriate will be attending.”
The arrangement appears to conflict with a promise from the White House that the identities of the potential buyers will be kept secret.
“The gallerist will not share information about buyers or prospective buyers, including their identities, with Hunter Biden or the administration, which provides quite a level of protection,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a briefing earlier this month when asked about the ethical guidelines surrounding Biden’s art work.
Asked about the set up, White House spokesman Andrew Bates referred CBS to a July 8 statement that said: “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.”
Critics have questioned Biden’s art sales because of the likelihood that it could result in people buying the works to gain influence with his father.
The former lawyer and lobbyist’s paintings that will go on sale in this fall are expected to fetch between $75,000 and $500,000.
Hunter Biden, who has been a lightning rod of controversy for his president father because of his questionable foreign dealings, will not discuss potential purchases, prices or any matters related to the sales, a source told CBS.
Under the deal agreed upon by the White House, only the gallery owner would know the buyer’s identity or the sale price, and it would be up to Georges Berges to flag suspected buys or bids beyond a reasonable price.
Walter Shaub, the ethics adviser for the Obama administration, said the White House appears to be “outsourcing government ethics” to the gallery.
“Is Hunter Biden going to walk around the art show with a blindfold on?” Shaub said. “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.”
Davis said Berges has known Biden, who has no formal artistic training, for about two years.
“He really wants to help Hunter and for people to recognize his talent,” Davis said. “So you know, I think it’s all on the up and up.”
Berges told The Post that he at first, questioned Hunter Biden’s artistic ability.
“A lot of people say they can paint and do sculpture, but what I was concerned about was whether Hunter’s work would be authentic,” he said.
“What interested me was whether the work was going to be honest — something that was really true to him and his journey,” Berges said. “But as soon as I met him, I had a real connection with him and I felt I could work with him.”