- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 22, 2021

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday defended Hunter Biden’s decision to meet with potential buyers of his art amid ethical concerns tied to the sales.

The president’s son is scheduled to attend a private event with potential art purchasers in Los Angeles and a larger show in New York later this year, according to a report by CBS News.

Mr. Biden’s paintings could fetch as much as $500,000, analysts say, which has raised alarms among ethics experts and others.

But Ms. Psaki defended the arrangement at a White House press briefing Thursday, saying that the president’s son won’t be involved in negotiating the sales.

“I think we have set up a system which we feel has appropriate safeguards,” she said. “We believe that Hunter Biden, like any child of a president, should be able to pursue their professions and their passions.”

Under the guidelines established by the White House, the names of the buyers will remain secret even to Mr. Biden himself. Ms. Psaki said that will avoid the possibility that buyers will attempt to influence the administration by overpaying for the artwork.

“We won’t know who they are, so there’s no scenario where they could provide influence,” she said.

But when pressed on why the White House wouldn’t just release the names of the buyers to increase transparency, Ms. Psaki repeated that neither the White House nor Hunter Biden will know who the buyers are.

She also declined to say whether the agreement to shield the buyers’ identities is in writing.

“I can see if there is writing, but I think it’s pretty clear what the agreement is, so I’m not sure it is more complicated than that,” she said.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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