The Justice Department is reportedly investigating a Democrat-linked D.C. lobbying firm that has ties to Hunter Biden and a Ukrainian energy firm where he once held a lucrative board member position.
Politico reported Thursday that DoJ is investigating whether Blue Star Strategies illegally lobbied on behalf of Burisma while President Joe Biden’s son was serving in his position, citing four people familiar with the probe.
Allegations that Burisma was corrupt along with its principles and the entities associated with them “were at the heart of the first Trump impeachment,” Politico reported.
The investigation into Blue Star Strategies comes as the department appears to be concentrating more on how foreign governments may be attempting to influence U.S. politics via backdoor lobbying activities.
Perhaps unsurprising to his supporters, most of the department’s efforts have thus far honed in on Republicans tied to Donald Trump, including an active investigation into the former president’s onetime personal lawyer, former New York City mayor and federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani. That said, DoJ’s reported focus on Blue Star Strategies indicates that investigators are not simply concentrating on GOP figures and firms, Politico noted, adding that its report is exclusive.
Two of the people familiar with the investigation said that there has been some grand jury activity thus far.
“The Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office is involved in the probe, and is coordinating with lawyers in the National Security Division at DOJ’s Washington headquarters, the sources said. The Delaware office is also investigating Hunter Biden for potential tax violations,” Politico added.
One aspect of the Blue Star probe is to determine if the firm engaged in illegal lobbying by failing to comply with provisions of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a law mandating Americans to reveal all PR and lobbying work on behalf of foreign officials and foreign political parties.
“There is no indication that Hunter Biden is a target of the investigation into Blue Star,” Politico reported, adding that a co-founder of the lobbying firm, Karen Tramontano, has testified that Biden had no involvement in its work for Burisma.
That said, emails obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop indicate that after he was appointed to the Burisma board in April 2014, while his then-vice president father was in charge of handling U.S. policy with Ukraine, he appeared to have an active role in pairing Burisma with Blue Star Strategies.
The emails indicate that Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi wanted to hire Blue Star to help “close down” investigations into the energy firm’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky in Ukraine. Pozharskyi, in particular, sought meetings with “widely recognized and influential” current and former U.S. policymakers to speak on behalf of Burisma and Zlochevsky.
Biden offered to contact Tramontano and Sally Painter, the Blue Star co-owners who both have ties to the Clinton administration, to “verify once more that they understand the scope so we can all feel that the retainer is in line with the work required.”
“I trust Sally and Karen implicitly so I believe we are all aligned but I want to have one last conversation with them to confirm before we proceed,” read an email from Hunter Biden.