Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Hunter Biden Knew His Art Buyers. Ethical 'Guardrails' Were a Scam


AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib

How much would you pay for a piece of “art” created by a political figure who had no history or experience in the creative arts but seemingly just picked up some paint and canvases and began splashing things around? Well, if you really liked it and had a lot of money to burn, it might be a fair amount. And the presumably unknown “artist” would likely feel quite grateful. But if the “artist” in question was a known, influential political figure who might feel some gratitude toward you in the future, the rest of us would probably have some questions. These are the issues that have swirled around First Son Hunter Biden’s supposed “art sales” from the beginning. But he racked up a lot of money selling his scribblings in the midst of his well-known financial troubles. We were assured that protections were in place ensuring that all of the sales were legitimate and not politically connected. Did anyone really believe that? A new report reveals that it was all a scam. (NY Post)

First son Hunter Biden’s Manhattan art dealer shared details Tuesday about purchasers of the first son’s novice works — while contradicting the White House’s claim that officials brokered an ethics arrangement to keep buyer identities anonymous to prevent corruption.

Georges Berg├Ęs said that Hunter, 53, actually knew who bought about 70% of his art — including Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali, whom the dealer revealed purchased works by the first son both before and after scoring a prestigious appointment from President Biden, a source told The Post.

Hirsh Naftali, who scored repeated visits to the White House during the timeframe in question, inked a $42,000 sale in February 2021, before her appointment that July by Joe Biden to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, and then another for $52,000 in December 2022.

I’m not trying to claim to be prophetic here, but last summer I predicted that Hunter Biden was paving the way toward a new scam that would allow partisans to funnel massive amounts of money to favored political figures while avoiding campaign finance laws and other oversight restrictions. In the case of Hunter, nobody has been held accountable. But the linked report shows that the people sending the Bidens all of this money were closely affiliated Biden associates seeking to rescue the addled First Son without having to stand accountable for their contributions.

When the art sales were first announced, we were assured that everything was on the up and up. Hunter wouldn’t know who was purchasing the crude artwork and it would all be anonymous. The entire story was fiction as the most novice political observer would have assumed. These were almost entirely known donors to the Biden clan and the rest were almost certainly hoping to get in on the gravy train. Traditionally, sending a lot of money to the Bidens has been a profitable investment.

Miranda Devine of the NY Post confirms what was already obvious and admitted by the person handling the sales. None of them had any sort of “agreement” with the government.

James Comer was being rather understated when he said, “The Biden White House appears to have deceived the American people.” A better way to say it might have been to observe that the administration tried to deceive the public. It was such an obvious fraud from the beginning that only a simpleton couldn’t have seen through it. Comer called the situation “an ethics nightmare.” That much is true, but what can be done about it?

This situation leaves the Bidens looking once again like the Hamburgler being caught holding an enormous sack with a dollar sign printed on the side of it. But as I pointed out in my original article linked above, this is almost the perfect scam, assuming that you don’t mind being made to openly look like a pack of crooks. What resolution is available to Congress or law enforcement? Are we going to allow the government to define what constitutes “art” and who may or may not buy it? Hunter Biden is a private citizen, not an elected official. Any work of supposed “art” is worth precisely what someone is willing to pay for it. Somebody paid $120,000 for a banana duct taped to a wall once. (And that was described as legitimate modern art by some.) It was obviously one of the dumbest displays ever seen, but there was no suggestion that a crime was committed.

As far as I’m concerned, this is an ethical problem without a resolution. Hunter Biden can continue to produce paint-by-numbers products and people can line up to dump cash into his coffers. All the rest of us can do is stand back and watch, hopefully learning the names of all the people participating in the scam. But there doesn’t appear to be any sort of path toward accountability available.