Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are investigating “possible undue White House influence” around the upcoming sale of Hunter Biden’s artwork, according to a letter from the committee’s top Republican.
The letter, written by Congressman James Comer of Kentucky, asks Georges Bergès, the gallerist brokering sales of Biden’s paintings, to provide the committee with documents and communications between him, the White House, and Biden by September 21. It also asks Bergès to produce documents showing who attended Biden’s art shows, who purchased his work and how much they paid.
However, committee Republicans lack subpoena power because they’re in the minority, so unless Democrats join the cause, Tuesday’s letter amounts to a non-binding request for information.
In July, the White House said it had reached an ethics arrangement with Biden, President Biden’s 51-year old son,. Only Bergès would know the buyer’s name and purchase price under the agreement, intended to shield the Biden family from those seeking political influence.
Buyers, of course, could make themselves known and CBS News later learned Biden would attend his art shows in New York and Los Angeles, putting him in front of a group of likely buyers.
Through a spokesperson in July, Bergès said he would reject offers over asking price. He estimated the works could fetch between $75,000 and $500,000.
On the “Nota Bene: This Week in the Art World” podcast in late July, Biden was asked about critics who said his art would sell for far less if he weren’t celebrity. Asked for his response to those charges,, “Other than f*** em?”
He also acknowledged that the valuation of art isn’t exactly a science, calling the prices “completely subjective.”
“Look man, I never set my prices — what my art was going to cost, what it costs, or how much it would be priced at. I would be amazed you know if my art had sold at, um you know, for $10,” Biden said at the time.
The White House declined comment. A spokesperson for Georges Bergès did not reply to a request for comment.
CBS News’ Fin Gomez and Bo Erickson contributed to this report.