- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2023

House Republicans on Wednesday deepened their probe into President Biden and his family’s long trail of suspicious business dealings, with demands for information related to Hunter Biden’s art sales.

The move from the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman, James Comer, Kentucky Republican, further expands the scope of the GOP’s intense, politically charged investigation focused on Mr. Biden’s suspected involvement in his son’s moneymaking schemes.

In a letter to Hunter Biden’s New York art dealer, George Berges, Mr. Comer raised concerns about the “exorbitant amounts of money” the president’s son raked in from selling his paintings to anonymous buyers despite “being a novice artist.”

“Your arrangement with Hunter Biden raises serious ethics concerns and calls into question whether the Biden family is again selling access and influence,” Mr. Comer wrote. “It is concerning that President Biden’s son is the recipient of anonymous, high-dollar transactions — potentially from foreign buyers — with no accountability or oversight (other than you).”

Hunter Biden’s foray into the art world has raised concerns dating back to his gallery debut in 2021, prompting the White House to develop a set of ethical guidelines in response.

Those guardrails include shielding the identity of buyers from Hunter Biden and his father’s administration in a bid to ensure the purchases are not made to curry favor with the president.

Hunter Biden’s works have sold for as much as $500,000 apiece at Mr. Berges’ SoHo gallery in New York City.

His latest paintings on display at the gallery range from $55,000 to $225,000, according to Mr. Comer.

Mr. Comer began requesting information related to the art sales from Mr. Berges in September 2021 but says those requests have gone ignored.

Now, armed with subpoena power, Mr. Comer is reiterating his request for documents related to the sales and has asked Mr. Berges to appear before his committee for a transcribed interview.

“The American people deserve transparency regarding certain details about Hunter Biden’s expensive art transactions,” Mr. Comer wrote. “We believe you possess important information related to this investigation.”

Wednesday’s letter adds to Mr. Comer’s demands for information from the Treasury Department and testimony from former Twitter executives this month.

He requested that Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s former chief legal officer; James Baker, Twitter’s former deputy general counsel; and Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, testify before the committee at a hearing slated for the week of Feb. 6.

“Your attendance is necessary because of your role in suppressing Americans’ access to information about the Biden family on Twitter shortly before the 2020 election,” Mr. Comer wrote in letters to the former executives.

Mr. Comer made the requests last month after new Twitter owner Elon Musk released a flood of internal documents known as the Twitter Files that showed the platform had a left-wing bias that affected how it censored viewpoints.

The Twitter Files exposed the censorship of conservative messages and the decision to permanently ban then-President Trump from the platform in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol in addition to the suppression of information about Hunter Biden’s laptop.

In addition to putting the Twitter executives on notice, Mr. Comer demanded that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen hand over a tranche of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in the Treasury Department’s possession that he says shed light on a web of potentially illegal business ventures spearheaded by the Biden family.

Mr. Comer says previous requests that the Treasury Department hand over the SARs — reports generated by banks to flag suspected illegal activity — have been ignored.

“The committee is investigating President Biden’s knowledge of and role in these schemes to assess whether he has compromised our national security at the expense of the American people,” Mr. Comer wrote in a letter to Ms. Yellen. “Accordingly, we make this renewed request for certain records and information in Treasury’s custody.”

Hunter Biden’s far-flung business deals have raised eyebrows for years about potential influence peddling and possible crimes. He served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, pursued deals with Chinese Communist Party-linked energy tycoons and allegedly pocketed more than $3 million from a Russian businesswoman who is the widow of a former mayor of Moscow.

Mr. Comer laid out evidence in November that “raises troubling questions” about whether the president has been “compromised by foreign governments” in connection with his son’s ventures.

Citing evidence obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop and through whistleblowers, Mr. Comer said his committee had uncovered a “decade-long pattern of influence peddling, national security risks and political cover-ups” committed by the Biden family with the knowledge and involvement of the president.

Republicans on the oversight committee said in a 31-page report that the president was directly involved in his family’s business deals, including those involving foreign interests, despite claiming he did not know the details.

The White House has consistently brushed off Republicans’ pledge to expand their inquiry. It called the lawmakers’ claims “politically motivated attacks chock-full of long-debunked conspiracy theories.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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