House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) recently initiated a thorough investigation into the purchase of Hunter Biden’s artwork to determine whether Hunter exploited his budding art career to gain undue influence and access to the White House.
One of the buyers who is receiving attention is Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali, who is a significant contributor to President Biden’s campaign and was appointed by Biden to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. The timing of Naftali’s art acquisition remains uncertain, and whether it occurred before or after her appointment is unclear.
Chair Comer expressed the Committee’s concern over the possibility of Hunter Biden leveraging his new artistic pursuit to gain favorable treatment and proximity to the White House. Comer referred to the White House’s guarantee that Hunter would have no knowledge of the identities of his purchasers in order to create a clear distinction between his business transactions and his father’s government.
In response to the Committee’s investigation, Hunter Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell informed reporters that the art gallery did not disclose the purchasers’ identities to Hunter. However, this protocol appears to have faltered, as Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali’s identity as a buyer has come to light.
The current situation has come under increased scrutiny because of Naftali’s position on the Commission. This is due to Hunter Biden’s previous actions in appointing his business partner, Eric Schwerin, to a similar role while his father served as Vice President.
Interestingly, Naftali visited the White House on 13 occasions after Hunter Biden first exhibited his paintings at a gallery in New York City. This raised eyebrows and added to the ongoing inquiry. Aside from Naftali, other buyers have acquired Hunter Biden’s art. A mystery buyer reportedly spent a substantial sum of $875,000 to purchase 11 of his paintings from art dealer Georges Bergès, who had prior strong connections to business people in Communist China.
Furthermore, Hunter Biden reportedly sold art to his top lawyer, Kevin Morris, who also covered Hunter’s IRS bill of approximately $2 million. Morris plays a central role in Hunter’s newfound career as a modern artist, a realm of the art market known for its association with corrupt practices.
It’s important to mention that in 2020, a Senate subcommittee report revealed the art market’s involvement in money laundering schemes. However, the White House seemed unperturbed by the report, defending Hunter’s new art venture as reasonable. As per the statement made by former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Hunter was not a part of the sale or any negotiations related to his artwork. Moreover, he won’t be notified about the buyers’ identities.