Reps. Ken Buck, (R-Colorado) and James Comer (R-Kentucky) are asking for visitor logs for presidential retreat Camp David from January 20, 2021 to the present.
The two Republicans made the request in a letter that indicates they want to know if guests who visited Camp David have any link to the controversial art sales of President Biden's son, Hunter.
Georges Berges, a gallerist who has marketed Hunter's artwork at exorbitant sales prices, was reportedly seen at Camp David conducting business, according to media reports.
The letter to Biden states, "Camp David is intended for the official use of the President of the United States - and operates using taxpayers [sic] money - meaning the taxpayers have a right to know about any potential use of the location to selectively advance any individual private citizen's interests."
In their letter, Buck and Comer remind Biden of his commitment to reinstating the Obama Administration policy of releasing visitor logs as a means to "restore integrity, transparency, and trust in government."
Read full letter below:
President Joseph Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
Dear President Biden,
November 16, 2021
I write to urge you to release all visitor logs for Camp David from January 20, 2021 to the present. According to recent news reports, it appears that Georges Bergès, the gallerist responsible for marketing your son’s artwork, may have recently been a guest at Camp David.1 As you know, Mr. Bergès is, according to his own statements,2 the only person who knows the identities of the buyers of your son’s art. Camp David is intended for the official use of the President of the United States – and operates using taxpayers’ money – meaning that the taxpayers have a right to know about any potential use of the location to selectively advance any individual private citizen’s interests.
In May 2021, you reinstated the Obama Administration policy of releasing visitor logs for the White House, Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and New Executive Office Building. According to a White House press release,3 you implemented the policy to deliver on “[your] commitment to restore integrity, transparency, and trust in government.” Nothing destroys the American people’s trust in their government more than using taxpayer funded facilities to operate an influence peddling scheme orchestrated by the son of the President of the United States. President Bush released his visitor logs to Camp David,4 and in the interest of full transparency, I call on you to do the same.
Past administrations have used Camp David as a place to host world leaders, Members of Congress, Cabinet officials, and other dignitaries. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt hosted Prime Minister Winston Churchill at Camp David to plan the Allied invasion of Europe. President Eisenhower held a Camp David summit with Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev to seek a thaw in the Cold War. President Jimmy Carter hosted Israeli and Egyptian leaders at Camp David for peace talks and negotiated the Camp David Accords. President Obama used the facility to host the G8 Summit and members of his Cabinet. President Trump hosted Members of Congress and their families as a means of relationship building.
1 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10125477/Hunter-Biden-faces-fresh-cash-access-questions-art-dealer- wears-Camp-David-hat.html
2 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10125477/Hunter-Biden-faces-fresh-cash-access-questions-art-dealer- wears-Camp-David-hat.html
3 https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/disclosures/2021/05/07/biden-harris-administration-reinstates-visitor- log-policy-will-be-first-administration-to-post-records-from-first-full-year-in-office/
Unlike the White House, which is a fully functioning government complex and staffed by thousands of employees, Camp David is a secluded retreat reserved as a facility for the president to conduct official government business or to use as a retreat for his inner circle of family and friends. On occasion, presidents have also permitted senior White House staff to use the retreat when the president is not using it.5 In other words, Camp David is a taxpayer-funded facility for use by the President or senior government employees with the President’s permission. Georges Bergès is not an employee of the federal government, and he could not have accessed the Camp David facilities except upon your invitation or approval. Camp David is not an outpost for presidential family members to conduct their personal commercial dealings. In fact, there are no identifiable press accounts of a sitting president allowing their adult children to host their current business partners at Camp David.6
I strongly urge you to release the visitor logs for Camp David, so the American people know taxpayer-funded facilities are not being used to advance your family’s financial interests.
I appreciate your attention to this pressing matter. Sincerely,
Ken Buck Member of Congress
James Comer Member of Congress