Psaki defends Hunter Biden's participation in art shows: 'No scenario' in which buyers can 'provide influence'


White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday defended Hunter Biden’s plans to meet with potential buyers of his art, saying the fact that the actual buyers will be anonymous will prevent the appearance of any “undue influence” in the administration.

“He’s not going to have any conversations related to the selling of art,” Psaki said during her daily press briefing. “That will be left to the gallerist, as was outlined in the agreement that we announced just a few weeks ago. We believe this is a reasonable system that has been established that allows for Hunter Biden to work in his profession within appropriate safeguards.”

The comments follow a report by CBS News that the 51-year-old son of Biden will attend two art shows later this year in New York City and Los Angeles, where his paintings could sell for as much as $500,000.

The White House said Thursday that any buyers of the art will remain anonymous, except to the gallerists, and that Biden will not discuss “anything related to the selling of art.”

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A reporter asked Psaki whether it would be “more transparent to just release the names of the buyers so that everyone would know who purchased this art and how much they paid.”

“Well, we won’t know who the buyers are,” Psaki responded. “Hunter Biden won’t know who the buyers are. So I think the origin I think of this line of questioning, which is understandable, is about whether this would provide a situation for undue influence. But we won’t know who they are, so there’s no scenario where they could provide influence.”

The reporter pushed back, asking, “couldn’t they just announce on social media that they bought a painting?”

“Again, I think we have set up a system, which we feel is appropriate, has appropriate safeguards,” Psaki replied. “We believe that Hunter Biden, just like any child of a president, should be able to pursue their professions and their passions. And any selling of the art would be through the gallerist.”

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Some government ethics experts have expressed concerns buyers could purchase the younger Biden’s art in an effort to influence his father’s administration.

Former Obama-era Office of Government Ethics chief Walter Shaub said in a statement to Fox News that the Biden administration is “dwelling in secrecy instead of transparency here.”

“This White House has a bad habit of vaguely telling us there are safeguards in place without telling us what those safeguards are,” Shaub said. 

“They say Hunter Biden won’t know who buys his art, but it turns out he will know who is bidding on his art. They say he won’t discuss sales with the bidders, but they offer us no way to verify that. They say he won’t know which bidders submit the winning bids, but they offer us no way to verify that. They say the buyers won’t get preferential access to government officials, but they offer us no way to verify that.

“They say they have the highest ethics standards of all time, but they’re dwelling in secrecy instead of transparency here,” he continued. 

“They say Hunter Biden has a right to pursue a career, but he’s not pursuing a career – he’s profiting off the presidency. If he wants to be a hedge fund manager, he can be a hedge fund manager. If he wants to be a lawyer, he can be a lawyer. If he wants to be an artist, he can be an artist – but what he shouldn’t do is sell art at prices clearly based on his status as the president’s son.”

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