The Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee Is Demanding Hunter Biden’s Art Dealer Make the Artist’s Sales Public
Hunter's career is "insulting to the art ecosystem," said Representative James Comer, quoting art advisor Lisa Schiff.
Hunter Biden’s new-found career as an artist is once again the target of scrutiny for Republicans in Congress.
This week, the ranking minority member of the House Oversight Committee, Representative James Comer from Kentucky, sent a letter to Biden’s New York dealer urging him to share information about the artist’s sales. He, like others in his party, claim that lobbyists, foreign state officials, and other potential bad actors might use Biden’s work as a way to curry favor with the White House.
“As you are undoubtedly aware, the president’s son selling artwork has generated numerous questions surrounding the ethics and propriety of such actions,” said Comer to Biden’s gallerist, Georges Bergès, in the missive, a copy of which was seen by Artnet News.
“The prices your gallery has set for these pieces by a new, untrained, celebrity artist are unprecedented,” Comer’s letter continued. “One New York art adviser said such prices are ‘sort of insulting to the art ecosystem, as if anyone could do it.'” (The art advisor in question was Lisa Schiff, quoted in an August 13 New York Times story.)
The congressman went on to address the agreement Bergès reportedly reached with the White House in July stipulating that he keep all information related to the sale of the First Son’s artwork confidential. “Though the White House has attempted to allay concerns about the appearance of selling access to the president by developing guidelines for your gallery, these guidelines actually create more obscurity for the buyers of Mr. Biden’s compositions,” Comer wrote.
“It is the Oversight Committee’s responsibility to scrutinize Mr. Biden’s business activities because he chooses to conduct them in the most murky and corrupt corners of international affairs.”
Comer concludes by requesting various documents from the dealers, including all correspondences with Hunter Biden and the White House.
A spokesperson for Comer declined to comment further, but pointed to a Tweet the House Representative shared this week. “Given his shady foreign business dealings, Hunter Biden’s overpriced artwork is a national security risk,” the post read, referring to the $75,000 to $500,000 price tags that Bergès has said will accompany the artist’s works. “Selling access to @POTUS demands the attention of the Oversight Committee.”
Bergès, meanwhile, did not respond to Artnet News’s inquiry.
Comer is not the only Republican to make an issue over Hunter Biden’s art. This summer, Florida representative Mike Waltz—an ardent Trump supporter—introduced a bill that would require current and future presidents to disclose their adult children’s finances. It’s called the Preventing Anonymous Income by Necessitating Transparency of Executive Relatives—or PAINTER—Act.
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