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White House Wants Maximum Secrecy for Hunter Biden Art Deal

Ethics experts concerned buyers could gain White House influence

Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden / Getty Images
• July 8, 2021 12:40 pm

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The White House is negotiating a deal that would shield the identities of anyone who purchases Hunter Biden's artwork due to concerns that transparency would reduce interest from potential buyers, according to the Washington Post.

Biden is set to market his abstract paintings in the fall for prices between $75,000 and $500,000, drawing concern from ethics experts, the Washington Free Beacon reported last month. Government watchdogs have noted that foreign nationals or lobbyists could buy the high-priced art in order to gain influence with the White House and have urged the Biden administration to publicly release the names of any buyers.

But under an agreement that White House officials negotiated with Hunter Biden's art dealer, the names of buyers and bidders "will be kept confidential from even the artist himself, in an attempt to avoid ethical issues that could arise," the Post reported on Thursday.

Officials who helped negotiate the deal reportedly told the paper that "if buyers were publicly disclosed it would restrict interest, because the identities of most art purchasers are not automatically made public."

Biden's dealer, New York gallery owner Georges Bergès, has also "agreed to reject any offer that he deems suspicious or that comes in over the asking price," reported the Post, citing sources familiar with the agreement.

Several art world insiders questioned the steep asking prices for Biden's artwork, with one critic describing it as "somewhere between a screen saver and if you just Googled ‘midcentury abstraction' and mashed up whatever came up."