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A Florida Republican congressman is set to introduce a bill requiring presidents and vice presidents provide financial disclosures for their non-dependent children ahead of Hunter Biden’s much-criticized art exhibition.
Rep. Michael Waltz told Fox News Tuesday his legislation, the Preventing Anonymous Income by Necessitating Transparency of Executive Relatives (PAINTER) Act, is a bid to stop “the obvious and shameless grift that’s going on with Hunter Biden’s art sales, for which he is obviously not qualified to do and is only doing to continue to profit off of his family name.”
The first son will present a solo exhibition of 15 paintings at galleries in New York and Los Angeles this fall. Prices for the art will range from $75,000 for works on paper to $500,000 for the larger canvases.
Critics have warned that would-be purchasers of Hunter’s art could spend big money not to purchase a masterpiece, but to curry favor with the West Wing.
“The whole thing is a really bad idea,” former George W. Bush chief ethics lawyer Richard Painter told The Washington Post earlier this month. “The initial reaction a lot of people are going to have is that he’s capitalizing on being the son of a president and wants people to give him a lot of money. I mean, those are awfully high prices.”
The rumblings grew after The Washington Post reported last month that White House officials had helped hammer out an agreement to keep the identity of buyers confidential. They grew louder still when a spokeswoman for the gallery hosting the exhibit said Hunter Biden would appear at events with potential buyers in both cities.
That appeared to contradict a claim by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said earlier this month that “the gallerist will not share information about buyers or prospective buyers, including their identities, with Hunter Biden or the administration”.
“That’s really what this is all about, is just getting some transparency and shining a light on this,” “We should know who is backchanneling, backdooring and buying influence — which Hunter Biden has a long history of selling — to the President of the United States.”
Spouses and dependent children of presidents are required to provide financial disclosures under the Ethics in Government Act, which was enacted in 1978 in response to the Watergate scandal. Waltz’s legislation, which he expects to introduce Wednesday, would amend the act to require financial disclosures of all children or step-children of the president and vice president over the age of 17.
Earlier this month, a dozen House Republicans wrote to the office of White House Counsel Dana Remus to request information related to the business interests of President Biden’s relatives in order to “understand the extent of the Biden family’s use of its connection to the President to enrich itself.”
The letter sought information on trips Hunter Biden took with his father, then-Vice President Biden, to China in 2013 and Mexico in 2016. It also asked for a list of “all past and ongoing foreign business interests and past and ongoing foreign relations for members of the Biden family,” as well as all “documents and communications regarding Hunter Biden’s artwork.”
“The public has a right to know how President Biden and his son intend to keep separate the interests of the American people from the earnings of President Biden’s family members,” read the letter, which described the Biden family’s various interests as a “pattern … which appears to be nothing short of a cash-grab.”
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