How long before the sad and seamy saga of President Biden’s desperate, influence-peddling son blows up in Joe’s face? It would have and should have already, but the mainstream news media has scrupulously refused to publicize, much less investigate, the many hints of family-level corruption emerging from the First Family Black Sheep’s emails. The latest development is Hunter Biden, the Acclaimed Artist. No, that isn’t a microscope photo of the Wuhan virus above—that’s a Hunter Biden masterpiece. How much would you pay to have that hanging in your living room? (How much would you pay NOT to have that hanging in your living room?)
A New York gallery owner, Georges Bergès, is planning to offer Hunter’s artwork to buyers for prices ranging from from $75,000 to $500,000, despite the fact that art critics have described Hunter’s paintings as “not bad” at best, and “generic post zombie formalism illustration” at worst, which was the assessment of art critic Jerry Saltz in Artnet News. Scott Indrisek, the former editor in chief of Modern Painters magazine and a former deputy editor at Artsy, said: “I would call it very much a hotel art aesthetic. It’s the most anonymous art I can imagine. It’s somewhere between a screen saver and if you just Googled ‘midcentury abstraction’ and mashed up whatever came up.”
So why would anyone pay so much for paintings by someone who has no professional training and has never sold art on the commercial market? You know why.
Thus the Biden White House has negotiated an agreement in which the gallery will withhold all records, including the names of potential bidders and final buyers, regarding Hunter’s paintings, because transparency is essential to ethics, sunlight is the ultimate disinfectant, and democracy dies in darkness. Wait…what was that again?
Speaking of that ironic motto, the Washington Post story about Hunter’s latest is full of hilarity, like…
- “Officials close to President Biden, who have helped craft the agreement along with Hunter Biden’s attorney, have attempted to do so in a way that allows the president’s son to pursue a new career while also adhering to the elder Biden’s pledge to reverse his predecessor’s ethical laxity, especially regarding family members.”
New career? It’s the same career: profiting off of his father’s name and fame. What has Hunter Biden ever done on his own that would warrant his being hired for any job more challenging than grocery clerk? Who would buy such a nonentity’s book about his battles with addiction, for example?
- “Not only has Biden previously been accused of trading in on his father’s name, but his latest vocation is in a field where works do not have a tangible fixed value and where concerns have arisen about secretive buyers and undisclosed sums.”
Accused of trading on his father’s name!!!!
- “The whole thing is a really bad idea,” said Richard Painter, who was chief ethics lawyer to President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007. “The initial reaction a lot of people are going to have is that he’s capitalizing on being the son of a president and wants people to give him a lot of money. I mean, those are awfully high prices.” A foreign government could front someone to make a purchase, Painter said, or lobbyists could try to buy the art to win goodwill from the White House. Art purchases are notoriously hard to track…”
The only possible excuse for the Post quoting this thoroughly discredited “ethics expert” is that his name is “Painter.” Richard Painter established himself as the #1 anti-Trump whack job in the thics field after Trump was elected. (He single-handedly killed my favorite legal ethics blog by posting his deranged impeachment theories and other contrived accusations so compulsively that everyone stopped reading.) Some of his excesses are discussed in the Ethics Alarms posts collected here. The last we heard from Painter was when he claimed that the President of the United States raising money for his party’s Senators was “bribery” because they would have to vote on his impeachment. At this point, Painter’s opinions on ethics have no credibility nor does he, but since the Post was part of the same soft coup efforts he championed, it figures that Painter would be its go-to resource for this story. I especially like “The initial reaction a lot of people are going to have is that he’s capitalizing on being the son of a president and wants people to give him a lot of money.” The initial reaction? That’s the only possible reaction! What else is there, “Hey! That painting is a classic! Sure, I’d pay half a million for it!“?
Walter Shaub, another Trump foe who headed the Office of Government Ethics from 2013 to 2017, is admirably clear about what’s wrong with the “arrangement”:
“Because we don’t know who is paying for this art and we don’t know for sure that [Hunter Biden] knows, we have no way of monitoring whether people are buying access to the White House.What these people are paying for is Hunter Biden’s last name.”
Risibly, Andrew Bates, the deputy White House press secretary, claims that the buyers’ confidentiality would ensure that Hunter’s scam is ethical. “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,” Bates said.
It’s a prime example, all right.