Hunter Biden art sales raise red flags and ethics concerns
Former George W. Bush ethics attorney Richard Painter joins ‘Fox & Friends First’ to discuss the legal concerns surrounding Hunter Biden’s sale of his artwork
EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans on Wednesday launched an effort to probe the business ventures of President Biden’s family members, especially Hunter Biden’s newfound art career, and document how the Bidens have sought to “profit off the presidency.”
Citing news reports, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee accuse Biden’s son Hunter, brother Frank and sister Valerie of using the president’s position to their advantage and are demanding answers from the White House on such business dealings.
“Reports regarding President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s family members attempting to profit from their proximity to the White House have been disturbing and recurring,” the House Oversight Republicans wrote in letters obtained first by Fox News.
“Unfortunately, these reports of President Biden using his former official positions of public trust to swell the coffers of his family members are widespread, and any hope the pattern of family self-dealing would finally stop when he assumed the presidency has been dashed,” the letters read.
Of high concern for the Republicans is Hunter Biden’s new career path as an artist and his plans to sell his paintings at upcoming exhibitions in Los Angeles and New York, where his art could be listed as high as $500,000. In order to avoid an appearance of outsiders trying to peddle influence with the Biden family, the White House crafted an agreement to keep the names of the buyers confidential from the 51-year-old Biden and the White House. The Republicans dubbed the art agreement as “nothing short of a cash grab.”
House Oversight Letter Fina… by Fox News
The GOP lawmakers also raised concerns about reports that brother Francis “Frank” Biden promoted his relationship with the president in an Inauguration Day advertisement for a law firm he advises. And recently it was announced that Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, will be publishing a book next April entitled “Growing Up Biden: A Memoir,” which will look at her life with the president.
Led by the top Republican on the Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the Republicans fired off letters Wednesday to the White House general counsel and National Archives and Records Administration asking for an exhaustive list of documents “to understand the extent of the Biden family’s use of its connection to the president to enrich itself.”
Among the requests are documents related to Hunter Biden’s artwork, lists of all Biden family members’ foreign business interests, any instance when the Biden name was used in advertisements and investment opportunities, and White House procedures in place “to ensure the Biden family does not profit off the presidency,” according to letters obtained first by Fox News.
FILE – Then Vice President-elect, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., left, stands with his son Hunter during a re-enactment of the Senate oath ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 6, 2009. Hunter Biden, an ongoing target for conservatives, has a memoir coming out April 6. The book is called "Beautiful Things" and will center on the younger Biden’s well publicized struggles with substance abuse, according to his publisher. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
The requests also go back to Biden’s time as vice president with a request for documents and communications regarding a 2013 trip to China and a 2016 trip to Mexico when Hunter Biden traveled with his father.
It could be an uphill climb getting these records since Republicans are in the minority in the House and don’t wield any subpoena legal power to compel answers without the support of House Democrats in power.
Biden has long said he did not discuss his son Hunter’s foreign business dealings and the White House has stressed efforts and policies in place to ensure high ethical standards during the presidency.
Press secretary Jen Psaki said in January that it was the administration’s policy “that the president’s name should not be used in connection with any commercial activities to suggest or in any way, in any way they could reasonably be understood to imply his endorsement or support.”
Recently, Psaki defended Hunter Biden’s efforts to make a living off his artwork with “reasonable safeguards” in place to ensure the buyers are anonymous and therefore cannot assert influence.
“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 said.
This isn’t the first time lawmakers have leveled accusations of self-dealing at the White House. Democrats, lawyers and ethics watchdogs blasted former President Trump for never fully divesting himself from his businesses and accused him of profiting off the presidency through his frequent trips to his Trump-brand hotels, resorts and golf courses, as well as benefiting from foreign officials spending thousands to stay at his Washington, D.C., hotel.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner were also under fire from Democrats for their private businesses allegedly benefiting from their work in the White House.
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