WASHINGTON — The House Oversight Committee is asking first son Hunter Biden’s art dealer to turn over sales information and set up an interview with congressional investigators about possible interference.
The panel’s chairman, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), sent a letter to SoHo gallery owner Georges Berges on Wednesday after he brazenly dismissed an initial request last month.
“For over a decade, the Biden family has benefited from Joe Biden’s positions as a public servant,” Comer wrote. “Your arrangement with Hunter Biden raises serious ethical concerns and questions whether the Biden family will again sell access and influence.”
Hunter Biden launched his art career after his father took office as president in 2021 – having previously sought business with his uncle James Biden in countries where his father ruled as vice president, including China and Ukraine.
“Although Hunter Biden was an inexperienced artist, he received exorbitant sums of money for the sale of his artworks, the identities of the buyers remain unknown, and you appear to be the sole player in these lucrative transactions,” Comer wrote to Berges.
“For example, they announced that Hunter Biden’s latest artwork will cost between $55,000 and $225,000. It is worrying that President Biden’s son is the recipient of anonymous, high-value transactions – possibly from foreign buyers – with no accountability or oversight (other than you).”
The letter asks Berges to provide records by February 8 and to schedule “a transcribed interview with committee staff” by February 15.
If Berges refuses to comply with the request, the Republican majority on the committee can vote to collect the evidence and testimony with a subpoena, and continued blocking would expose Berges to potential criminal charges.
Comer requests “all documents and communications between you, Galerie Georges Bergès (or representatives thereof) and the White House” and “[a]All documents and communications between you, the Georges Bergès Gallery (or its agents) and Hunter Biden.”
Comer also demands “[d]Documents Sufficient to Show Who Purchased Hunter Biden’s Artwork” and “[a]All documents and notices establishing prices for Hunter Biden art.”
Hunter, 52, has asked for up to $500,000 for his novice work. He made at least $375,000 for five prints at a Hollywood art show last year attended by his father’s embattled candidate for ambassador to India, then-Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and it’s unclear how many additional sales he might have made.
Berges told the Post in December that he ignored three of Comer’s earlier requests for records because “[m]My goal has always been to discover and work with artists that I consider culturally and historically important [and] Hunter Biden is all of that.”
“His future is in art and we’re all richer because of it,” Berges added. “I just hope we don’t politicize something positive and good.”
The Post could not immediately reach Berges for comment on the request for new records.
The first son refused to answer a question about whether his father received any income from his various businesses when Hunter visited Berges’ gallery before an art show on December 8 – instead he put his arm around a reporter from The Post and and said, “Why don’t you come down to the gallery at 6 and check it out without taking out your phone?”
The White House said in 2021 that Hunter Biden’s art sales would be “anonymous” to prevent corruption, prompting strong opposition from ethics experts.
“We still don’t know and we won’t know who is buying paintings,” then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last year.
Richard Painter, President George W. Bush’s lead ethics attorney, said at the time that “buyers buy artworks to hang on a wall, not to put in a closet,” making it difficult to maintain anonymity.
Painter said there should be “full transparency” about the identities of buyers, and that Biden and his designees should sign off on all pledges “to make sure these people don’t get access to the White House.”
Calling for either the sales to be canceled or the names of buyers to be disclosed, Walter Shaub, director of the US Office of Government Ethics under President Barack Obama, said, “Hunter Biden should cancel this art sale because he knows the prices based on his father’s work.” . Shame on POTUS if he doesn’t ask Hunter to stop.”
The Post asked the president in November 2021 if he was concerned about possible corruption in his son’s art sales, to which Joe Biden replied, “You must be kidding.”
The president has denied making any money from his son’s foreign operations, and the White House says he stands by his 2019 claim that he never discussed those businesses with his son — despite evidence he did with Hunter’s staff and first brother James have interacted from China, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine.
Hunter Biden, in notes pulled from a former laptop, said he paid up to “half” his earnings to his father, and a 2017 email described 10% of a financial windfall that made for the ” big guy” retained as part of a deal was negotiated in China. Two former Hunter Biden employees have identified Joe Biden as the big guy.
Hunter Biden is reportedly under criminal investigation by the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware for possible tax fraud, money laundering, lying on a gun purchase form and unregistered foreign lobbying.
A special counsel, Robert Hur, is investigating Joe Biden’s handling of classified records from before his presidency. The investigation could be expanded to explore Hunter Biden’s role in the saga. Files from the first son’s former laptop show he was frequently at his father’s home in Wilmington where sensitive papers were found, and he gave the home as his address on a 2018 background check form.
A report last year by conservative research group Marco Polo on Biden’s laptop, founded by former Trump White House official Garrett Ziegler, called Hunter Biden’s art trade “quite ironic” after his father’s administration in December 2021 anti-corruption strategy that Art said the industry was optimal for illegal value transfer, sanctions evasion, due to its “built-in opacity, lack of stable and predictable prices, and inherent cross-border transportability of the goods sold.” and make corruption”, the main reason for abuse.
https://nypost.com/2023/01/25/james-comer-demands-to-know-hunter-biden-art-sale-records/ James Comer demands to know Hunter Biden art sales records