House Oversight asks gallery owner about Hunter Biden art sales
Republicans on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee are now focusing their attention on Hunter Biden’s art sale as part of a larger investigation into the family’s business dealings.
James Comer, Republican of Kentucky, was the Oversight Chairman. He sent Wednesday a letter to Georges Berges Gallery’s owner, Georges Berges. The request for information regarding Hunter Biden’s paintings and an agreement with the White House to protect the identities of the buyers was addressed to Georges Berges Gallery.
Comer wrote that it was concerning that President Biden’s son received anonymous high-dollar transactions, possibly from foreign buyers. There is no oversight or accountability (other than yours),” Comer stated in the letter. “The American people should have transparency about Hunter Biden’s art transactions.”
Hunter Biden’s artworks were displayed at the gallery in SoHo, New York. There have been two solo exhibitions in 2021-2022.
In 2021, the White House stated that a system was in place to protect against conflicts of interests. Berges kept the identities of buyers confidential and denied any offer higher than the sale price. This was done to stop buyers trying to get into the White House by buying the paintings.
The policy was criticized by ethics experts for not being transparent about buyers. They also warned that it could backfire. The Treasury Department warned that high-value transactions in art, which require a “high level of anonymity or confidentiality”, could be used to help foreign nationals bypass U.S. economic sanctions.
Berges stated in 2021, Hunter Biden’s paintings might sell for $75,000-$500,000,000.
Comer had previously written to Berges asking for information on Hunter Biden’s art sales 2021. However, he was told that Berges never replied.
The Oversight chairman demanded documents and communications between Hunter Biden and the White House. Documents and contracts relating Biden’s artwork, any ethics guidelines made in conjunction with the White House. Documents that show who attended Biden’s art shows and documents showing who bought Biden’s artwork.
It also requested a transcript of Berges’ interview by February 15, 2023.
Berges’s letter marks the second public step in the Oversight committee’s investigation into Hunter Biden, since the Republicans gained control of the House.
Comer wrote to the Treasury Department earlier in January asking for information on suspicious activity reports that banks may have generated in relation to Biden family businesses, which has been a long-time target of House Oversight Republicans. These reports don’t necessarily indicate illegal activity and only a small number of reports received from banks each year lead to investigations by law enforcement.
He also wrote a series of letters asking for information from former top Twitter executives about how the company handled blocking a New York Post article that revealed information taken from Hunter Biden’s hard drive.