House Republicans investigate sale of Hunter Biden art

Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are investigating “possible undue White House influence” around the upcoming sale of Hunter Biden’s artwork, according to a letter from the committee’s top Republican.

The letter, written by Congressman James Comer of Kentucky, asks Georges Bergès, the gallerist negotiating sales of Biden’s paintings, to provide the committee with documents and communications between him, the White House, and Biden by September 21. He also asks Bergès to produce documents showing who attended Biden’s art exhibitions, who bought his work and how much they paid.

However, the Republicans on the committee do not have subpoena power because they are in the minority, so unless Democrats join the cause, Tuesday’s letter amounts to a non-binding request for information.

In July, the White House said it had reached an ethics deal with Biden, President Biden’s 51-year-old son, conceal the identity of buyers from him and the public. Only Bergès would know the name of the buyer and the purchase price under the agreement, intended to protect the Biden family from those seeking political influence.

Buyers, of course, could market themselves, and CBS News later learned that Biden would be attending his art shows in New York and Los Angeles, putting him in front of a group of potential buyers.

Via a spokesperson in July, Bergès said he would reject the offers at the asking price. He estimated that the works could fetch between $ 75,000 and $ 500,000.

On the “Nota Bene: This Week in the Art World” podcast in late July, Biden was asked about critics who said his art would sell for a lot less if he wasn’t a celebrity. Asked about his response to these accusations, Biden said, “Other than fucking shit?”

He also acknowledged that art valuation is not exactly a science, calling the prices “completely subjective”.

“Look man, I never set my prices – what my art was going to cost, what it would cost or how much it would cost. I would be amazed if you knew if my art had sold, uh, you know, for $ 10, “Biden said at the time.

The White House declined to comment. A spokesperson for Georges Bergès did not respond to a request for comment.

CBS News’s Fin Gomez and Bo Erickson contributed to this report.

Laura J. Boyer