Hunter Biden will be allowed to sell his own art despite potential conflicts of interest.
The White House has confirmed the president’s son will be permitted to significantly profit from his artistic creations.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed no buyer will be granted special access or any favors, even if they intend to influence Joe Biden.
“After careful consideration, a system has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within reasonable safeguards,” she said in a statement. “Of course, he has the right to pursue an artistic career, just like any child of a president has the right to pursue a career.”
Psaki promised an independent gallerist will set prices on Hunter’s artwork, handle transactions, and reject any offer above the asking amount. Paintings will be sold for between $75,000 and $500,000 each according to the New York Post.
“All interactions regarding the selling of art and the setting of prices will be handled by a professional gallerist adhering to the highest industry standards, and any offer out of the normal course would be rejected out of hand,” she said in the statement.
The press secretary stressed no buyer information will be shared with Hunter or the president as an extra precautionary measure.
“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,” she said.
Psaki brushed off any concerns about the gallerist having vested interests in the sale as a private citizen.
“It would be challenging for an anonymous person, who we do not know and Hunter Biden does not know, to have influence so that is a protection,” she said.
However, these assurances have not convinced all Democratic Party supporters. Former Obama administration ethics director Walter Shaub believes Hunter could still be tempted to profit from selling his influence on the president.
“Imagine you are the White House official who came up with the idea to outsource government ethics management to an art dealer, and you suddenly realize Russian oligarchs like art too,” he said on Twitter.
Shaub suggested some of the potential problems could even concern matters of national security.
“Imagine you are a Kremlin official looking for a way to embarrass the United States and, one day, you read that the White House negotiated with a private art dealer to keep secret the names of buyers who pay outrageous sums at an upcoming auction for artwork by the president’s lawyer son,” he said on Twitter.
Imagine you're a Kremlin official looking for a way to embarrass the U.S., and one day you read that the White House negotiated with a private art dealer to keep secret the names of buyers who pay outrageous sums at an upcoming auction for artwork by the president's lawyer son.— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 8, 2021
“It is not about the job, he can have almost any kind of job including artist,” he added on Twitter. “It is about looking like you are trading on your dad’s public service, which is what this is–and you know it, unless you are not being honest with yourself.”
It isn't about the job. He can have almost any kind of job, including artist. It's about looking like you're trading on your dad's public service, which is what this is. And you know it, unless you're not being honest with yourself.— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 8, 2021