Decoding | Art, morals and Biden

(New York) Despite his last name, Richard Pinter is not a visual arts specialist. But he thinks he can identify a moral problem when he sees it. And the upcoming great-priced sale of paintings by Hunter Biden, now a full-time painter, is one in his eyes.


Richard Hito

Richard Hito
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“It’s a terrible idea,” said the former ethics adviser to the White House under George W. Bush. He shouldn’t be selling these paintings at these prices. ”

What prices are we talking about? In the fall, New York Gallery owner George Burgess will exhibit paintings of Joe Biden’s son in New York and Los Angeles, priced between $75,000 and $500,000.

This is a lot of money for someone who has never sold their work before and is not a recognized artist.

Richard Pinter

Like other ethics professionals, the attorney is not only concerned that Hunter Biden will take advantage of his father’s presence in the White House to enrich himself by selling scabies. He is particularly concerned that buyers want to win over the president by buying his son’s paintings.

To some extent, the White House is aware of the problem. On July 9, it announced an agreement under which George Burgess pledges not to reveal the identities of the buyers to Hunter Biden or the White House. However, the gallery owner revealed last week that the president’s son will meet potential buyers of his paintings during their exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles. Is this not an obstacle to the agreement reached with the White House?

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Richard Pinter is convinced of this, unlike the White House.

“This is unfortunate because, overall, Biden is a huge improvement over Trump when it comes to ethics,” comments Pinter, now a law professor at the University of Minnesota.

Favoritism accusations

The biggest difference, of course, is the absence of the Bidens from the Democratic administration. It should be remembered that Donald Trump is among his main advisers in the White House his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Despite entering government, the two held significant interests in business.

However, the Biden administration itself is not immune to accusations of nepotism. Three of the four children of Steve Ritchetti, a longtime advisor to the president, hold positions of varying importance. Monica Medina, wife of White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein, has been appointed to the position of Assistant Secretary of State at the State Department. Stephanie Psaki, sister of White House Press Secretary Jane Psaki, holds an important position in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The sons of two of the president’s advisers work in the White House.

The Biden administration rejects accusations of nepotism, arguing that all employees are “well-qualified.”

“But that was never the question. The question is whether they would get the job. Were they the most qualified candidates?”

Walter Schaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics under Barack Obama, raised this question in an interview with the online magazine المجلة Send.

Richard Pinter asks himself when he talks about Joe Biden’s recent options for US ambassador to Canada and Germany.

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“I am disturbed by the appointment of David Cohen as ambassador to Canada and the appointment of Amy Guttmann as ambassador to Germany,” the law professor said. The two are friends with Biden in Philadelphia. The two agreed to a deal under which Biden was appointed as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania for $917,000, from 2017 to 2019. And he didn’t teach a single class! ”

From donor to ambassador in Canada

At the time, David Cohen was chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s board of directors. But it wasn’t just that. He also served as Vice President and Senior Lobbyist for Comcast, an American cable giant. And he would go on to become a major fundraiser for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

Amy Guttman was president of the University of Pennsylvania. In this capacity, she appointed Joe Biden as the first Presidential Practice Professor Benjamin Franklin at the University of Pennsylvania, his responsibilities included leading the Ben Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

to me Philadelphia Inquirer, the University of Pennsylvania paid Joe Biden $371,159 in 2017 and $540,484 in 2018 and early 2019. He shortened his work to dozens of public appearances on campus in which people had to shine. Get tickets. The future president did not offer any regular courses.

“It annoys me, even though I love President Biden,” Pinter said of David Cohen’s appointment. It’s more like give and take, a bribe. ”

Of course, Joe Biden is not the first US president to offer an ambassador position to a donor. Nor would he be the first to see a member of his family try to take advantage of having a loved one in the White House. Billy Carter, Julie’s classmate and Jimmy’s older brother, lent his first name to a beer brand.

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But Hunter Biden is a special case. In April 2014, when his father was vice president, he agreed to sit on the board of a Ukrainian gas company for 50 thousand dollars a month. He now finds himself embroiled in a new controversy, sparked by his decision to sell the fruits of an activity he says helped him battle his addiction to vodka and crack.

“He may be talented in everything,” Richard Pinter says sarcastically. After being a great Ukrainian businessman, he might be the next Rembrandt. But it’s a little hard to believe. ”

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