Justice Department is investigating Democratic consulting firm with ties to Hunter Biden for potentially illegal lobbying, according to a new report.
Blue Star Strategies did work for the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, while Hunter Biden was on its board. Biden’s work on that board became a campaign issue last year after President Donald Trump cracked down on it repeatedly at his rallies, accusing both Hunter and Joe Biden of corruption.
The company’s probe, as reported by Politics, comes as the Justice Department ramps up its investigation into efforts by foreign governments to influence U.S. politics through lobbying.
Most federal investigations have focused on Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani and his work in Ukraine.
But the inclusion of Blue Star indicates that there could also be problems for Democrats.
Hunter Biden is under investigation for his taxes, but has denied doing anything wrong with those taxes or with his work for Burisma. President Biden has not been charged with any wrongdoing and has said the DoJ will be an independent body that decides its own investigations.
There is no indication that Hunter is the target of the Blue Star probe. Karen Tramontano, one of Blue Star’s co-founders, testified before the Senate in August 2020 that Hunter Biden did not direct any of the company’s work for Burisma, Politics reported.
But the company used Hunter Biden’s name to secure a meeting with State Department officials in 2016 as it worked to improve Burisma’s reputation in the eyes of the U.S. government. Wall Street Journal reported. It was unclear if Hunter knew he was dropping his name.
Justice Department is investigating Democratic consulting firm with ties to Hunter Biden for possible illegal lobbying
Joe Biden (second from right) and his son, Hunter (far right), play golf in the Hamptons with Devon Archer (far left), who served on the board of Burisma with Hunter. The 2014 photo was created during the presidential campaign
President Joe Biden walks with his son Hunter Biden, left, Hunter Biden’s wife Melissa Cohen and son Beau, in March
Blue Star Strategies was founded by Karen Tramontano and Sally Painter, two well-connected alumni of the Clinton administration; Washington DC headquarters is above
A focus of the investigation is whether Blue Star has failed to comply with disclosure requirements under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. That law requires Americans to disclose lobbying and public affairs work for foreign officials and political parties.
The act has come to the fore in these investigations. Paul Manafort, who was pardoned by Trump, was under investigation for his work for foreign leaders. An investigation is also being opened against Giuliani.
Blue Star Strategies was founded by Tramontano and Sally Painter, two alumni of the Clinton administration. It describes itself as an international consultancy.
The company has offices around the world, including Brussels, Buenos Aires, Paris, London and Hanoi.
Hunter Biden not part of federal investigation into Blue Star Strategies
The two founders are well-connected Democrats. Their customers are US and foreign companies, according to the website, as well as foreign governments.
Their work includes Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia upon joining the NATO alliance, the European Union, the Eurozone, the OECD and the US Visa Waiver Program.
“We have helped political leaders from Argentina to Ukraine and Albania to Venezuela to improve their bilateral relations with the United States at the highest level,” the company said. website states.
Their work with Burisma is the focus of the DoJ investigation. It was not disclosed in federal lobbying databases.
Work began in November 2015. Hunter Biden was on the board at the time. He only stepped down from the board during the 2020 presidential campaign, when his job became a political hot potato.
Devon Archer, who co-founded an investment company with Hunter Biden and served on the board of Burisma with him, linked Blue Star with Burisma, according to Tramontano’s testimony.
Blue Star’s work was involved in Burisma’s battle with British authorities over millions of dollars seized by the British government.
Mykola Zlochevsky led Burisma. He was also the country’s former Minister of Natural Resources while controlling Burisma. In his government position, he oversaw all energy companies, including Burisma.
In April 2014, British law enforcement officers seized $23 million from Zlochevsky, saying it had been misappropriated for corruption.
Blue Star Strategies co-founder Sally Painter is a well-connected Democratic collaborator. Painter, third from left, can be seen above with singer Nick Jonas and movie star Priyanka Chopra
But a British judge ruled in January 2015 that Zlochevsky could get his money back. the guard wrote extensively on the case.
The then US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, criticized Burisma, leading to their hiring from Blue Star.
As part of his work, Tramontano met with a State Secretary, Catherine Novelli ., on March 1, 2016. log reported. During the meeting, she said Biden was on Brisma’s board, a former State Department official familiar with the discussion told the newspaper.
Tramontano also told the State Department that Burisma had not engaged in corruption and wanted to change the company’s mind in Washington.