White House helped negotiate ethics settlement with art gallery that is selling Hunter Biden paintings, sources say

Sources told CNN that the White House was involved in a settlement between Georges Burgess, the owner of the Soho New York gallery, and Hunter Biden in an effort to address any ethical concerns.

A spokesman for the Georges Burgess Gallery said Hunter Biden’s artwork is set to be displayed and sold at a private and confidential opening in Los Angeles in September, followed by an invitation-only event in New York. According to the spokesperson, the pieces cost between $75,000 and $500,000.

Two sources familiar with the sale arrangement told CNN that the buyer of the artwork would be kept anonymous and that neither Hunter Biden nor the public would know who bid or bought the work. If there is any unusual behavior – such as the offer price is too high or the collector is not interested in the work – the gallery is expected to turn down the offer, the sources said.

However, there is no clear enforcement mechanism for the standards agreed upon by the gallery and potential buyers of the Hunter Biden original.

Some ethics experts such as Walter Schaab – the former head of the Office of Government Ethics from 2013 to 2017 – have raised concerns about Biden’s new venture.

Schaub, now senior ethics fellow at the Project on Government Oversight, said the sale “is a really terrible idea.”

“They’ve basically outsourced government ethics to a private art dealer and they rely on anonymous art buyers to help keep the secret,” he said, referring to the sales arrangement.

“You know, on one level I have some sympathy for the president because he can’t control his relatives,” Schaab said. “But on another level it is unlikely that this art from an unknown artist would be selling at this price if it did not have the Biden name attached to it. The cachet that comes with buying this art is saying that you are the President. Art made by the son. And so it really looks like the son of the president who is taking advantage of his father’s public service.”

Schaab also argued that they “created opportunities for people to try to receive preferential treatment without paying a price.”

Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, said in a statement that “the president has set the highest ethical standards of any administration in American history, and his family’s commitment to such rigorous procedures is a prime example.”

CNN has reached out to Hunter Biden’s attorney for comment on the art sale.

On Georges Burgess Gallery Website, Hunter Biden’s biography does not mention that he is the president’s son.
In keeping with the style of the other bios on the website, the biography sticks to his art background, not delving into the more controversial parts of his past. A flashpoint for Hunter Biden has in recent years been his previous work on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which played a role in the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump. That job never proved any wrongdoing against Hunter Biden. It also does not mention that federal investigators are actively investigating his business dealings. CNN reported in December that the investigation is investigating a number of financial issues, including that Hunter Biden and his associates violated tax and money laundering laws in business transactions abroad, primarily China, According to two people gave information on the investigation. Hunter Biden has said he is “absolutely certain” he will be acquitted in that investigation.

The biography mentions his art style, briefly references his previous work as a lawyer and describes him as someone who “now devotes his life to the creative arts.”

Hunter Biden has been open about his battle with addiction, penning a book published earlier this year detailing his struggles, and crediting art as a coping mechanism.

They told new York Times Last year that painting was “literally” keeping him sane, saying it “keeps me away from people and places I shouldn’t be.”
Early in his administration, President Joe Biden Also vowed to avoid the notion of conflict of interest After years of allegations against former President Donald Trump that his business and family benefited from his office, which includes his daughter and son-in-law, are top White House jobs.

“We’re going to run it like the Obama-Biden administration,” the president told People Magazine at the start of his term. “No one in our family and extended family is going to be involved in government undertaking or foreign policy.”

He continued, “And nobody has an office in this place. They always have access to Pop and Nana but nobody will have (an office).”

She also issued an executive action To establish new ethics rules for his future administration.
Before being sworn in as President and now, months into his administration, the President has been brought under scrutiny on his family and their presence of conflict of interest.
The president has faced intense scrutiny for Hunter Biden’s business deals – an issue that became a lightning rod for the 2020 presidential campaign and triggered impeachment proceedings against then-President Donald Trump. In recent weeks, the administration has also been pressured by ethics experts. presence of nepotism Between hiring senior level employees and their family members.

CNN’s Ben Krowlowitz contributed to this report.

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