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Tipsheet

Hunter Biden's Art Dealer Contradicts the White House

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

When people dared to raise concerns about the sale of Hunter Biden's artwork--including Walter Michael Shaub Jr., the ethics chief under the Obama administration--the White House dismissed such concerns in July 2021, claiming "a system has been established" with ethics agreements put into place for buyers and buyers being kept anonymous so as to prevent corruption. Now, two-and-a-half years later, we know that that is a lie, based on transcribed testimony that Georges Bergès, Hunter Biden’s art gallerist, gave to the House Oversight Committee. Bergès had been subpoenaed by the Committee last month. 

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According to a Committee press release and takeaways posted over X, the White House actually never facilitated any such agreements. In fact, "Georges Bergès stated he never had any communication with the White House about an agreement about Hunter Biden’s art and admitted Hunter Biden knew the identities of the individuals who purchased roughly 70% of the value of his art, including Democrat donors Kevin Morris and Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali."

Not only did Bergès know the identity of a majority of donors, but they were Democratic donors whose names we have heard before. Morris is the "sugar brother" for Hunter Biden, as he's assisted him in his legal battles. He's also the attorney who has been photographed smoking out of a bong in California. Naftali's name was revealed last July. Not only was she a donor to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, she had been appointed to the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad in July 2022.

The Committee has plenty of receipts, including a statement from Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates included in a CNN article from the time such assurances were made, with Bates claiming "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." 

The Committee also explains how Hunter and Bergès met, which was through Lanette Phillips, described as "a Hollywood video producer who has hosted fundraisers for Joe Biden." 

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There's more information about Morris and Naftali as well:

  • Georges Bergès revealed Kevin Morris purchased most of Hunter Biden’s art for $875,000 in January 2023. However, Kevin Morris only paid Mr. Bergès 40% commission of the $875,000 purchase and Hunter Biden and Kevin Morris figured out the financial implications. Mr. Bergès admitted he has never done an art deal like that before.
  • In 2020, Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali did not buy Hunter Biden’s art despite Georges Bergès best efforts. Within two months of Joe Biden becoming President, in February 2021, Ms. Naftali purchased her first piece of Hunter Biden’s artwork for $42,000. Then in July 2022, President Biden announced Ms. Naftali’s appointment to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad – the same commission that Biden family associate, Eric Schwerin, was appointed to during the Obama-Biden Administration. In December 2022, Hirsh Naftali purchased more of Hunter Biden’s art for $52,000.

Other takeaways spoke more to the Biden name having influence and the mention of President Joe Biden himself, including how "Georges Bergès confirmed Hunter Biden’s name had influence on setting the price for his art." and how "Georges Bergès stated that he has talked on the phone and met in-person with Joe Biden, even attending the wedding the Bidens hosted at the White House."

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House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) released a statement calling on the White House to explain the contradictions. "The Biden White House appears to have deceived the American people about facilitating an ethics agreement governing the sale of Hunter Biden’s art. Hunter Biden’s gallerist never had any communication with the White House about such an agreement to make sure there was any sort of ethics compliance at all, and he provided information to the committee revealing how Hunter Biden’s amateur art career is an ethics nightmare," Comer said. 

"The vast majority of Hunter Biden’s art has been purchased by Democrat donors, one of whom was appointed by President Biden to a prestigious commission after she purchased Hunter Biden’s art for tens of thousands of dollars shortly after Joe Biden’s inauguration. The White House has a lot of explaining to do about misleading the American people," the chairman continued. 

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The New York Post and TheMessenger also published reports with such information. earlier on Tuesday, citing multiple sources. 

In other Hunter Biden news, the House Judiciary Committee will also be conducting a markup on the resolution to hold the first son in contempt of Congress after he ignored lawful subpoena requests and skipped out on a deposition for closed-door testimony on December 13. Instead, he showed up to the Senate side of the Capitol for a press conference in a space reserved by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and then left. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Chairman Comer and warned Hunter Biden and his attorneys multiple times that he had been expected to appear and that there would be consequences if he did not. 

Morris' name also appears in a letter that two chairmen sent a letter late last month to White House Counsel Edward Siskel seeking information on the role the president may have played in Hunter skipping out on his deposition. The chairmen are looking in part for "All documents and communications sent or received by employees of the Executive Office of the President regarding the deposition of Hunter Biden, including but not limited to communications with Hunter Biden, Winston & Strawn LLP, and Kevin Morris."

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