The art show will make it seem like Hunter is “capitalizing on being the son of a president and wants people to give him a lot of money,” warned Richard Painter, a former chief ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush administration.
The New York gallery with which Hunter is working with will withhold all transactional records—including the identities of bidders and final buyers, and the amounts paid for the artwork—from the exhibit, which is scheduled for this fall.
“The whole thing is a really bad idea,” Painter told the Washington Post.
Under normal circumstances, the show and its lack of transparency would create the appearance of impropriety—a direct violation of the hollow pledges his father made to hold the current administration to the utmost ethical standard.
However, the long history of Hunter’s past ethical abuses, including business deals with several foreign entities for which he is currently under FBI investigation, made the art show even more suspect, said Walter Shaub, who led the Office of Government Ethics under former president Barack Obama.
“Because we don’t know who is paying for this art and we don’t know for sure that [Hunter Biden] knows, we have no way of monitoring whether people are buying access to the White House,” Shaub explained.
Similar criticisms were raised over the Clinton Foundation’s donations from foreign governments following Bill Clinton‘s presidency, while his wife, Hillary, was continuing to pursue her ambitious political career as a US senator, secretary of State and Democrat presidential candidate.
The art show will inevitably attract people who want to get close to Hunter Biden to get close to the White House, Shaub added.
“What these people are paying for is Hunter Biden’s last name,” he said.
Art curator Jeffry Cudlin agreed and said the art on its face is not worth the prices Hunter Biden is asking.
“How much of that value is due to the art itself? That’s easy: None of it,” Cudlin, also a professor of art curatorial studies and practice at the Maryland Institute College of Art, told the Washington Examiner.
Biden’s White House pushed back on these concerns, repeating its claim that the Biden administration was holding itself accountable, regardless of what Hunter Biden does on his own time.
“The president has established the highest ethical standards of any administration in American history, and his family’s commitment to rigorous processes like this is a prime example,” White House press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement.