by Frank Holmes, reporter
A Democratic lobbying firm with ties to Hunter Biden is now under federal investigation, a major new report says.
The name Blue Star Strategies might not ring a bell, but you know the group they were lobbying for: Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company that paid Hunter Biden $83,000 a month—even though he knows nothing about Ukraine or energy.
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To make matters worse for the Biden family, the lobbying that is under fire by investigators came while Hunter was on the company’s board.
Joe Biden’s Justice Department is looking into whether Blue Star broke a law called the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or “FARA,” which requires anyone lobbying for a foreign politicians to make that known publicly.
Blue Star didn’t do that, according to the report in Politico.com.
And the firm was after big bucks: $23 million that belonged to a Ukrainian oligarch and former government official.
Burisma is run by Ukraine’s former minister of natural resources, Mykola Zlochevsky.
Officials in England seized $23 million of his money in April 2014, two years after Zlochevsky left office, saying that he had misappropriated the funds. But the following January, a British judge gave the Burima leader his money back, because he said the case against Zlochevsky was too thin.
But America’s then-ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, spoke out against the decision to give back his $23 million in September 2015, because he said the leader of Burisma was corrupt.
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That’s when Burisma hired Blue Star to start probing the State Department, allegedly without telling anyone it was working for the Ukrainian.
And guess who put Burisma in touch with Blue Star? Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer.
To make matters worse, there are a couple of big contradictions in Burisma’s story.
The woman who met with Obama administration officials, Karen Tramontano—who is a former staffer for President Bill Clinton—said she had no idea that Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma
But she had known Hunter Biden for years before he got his sweet Burisma gig—and Blue Star actually mentioned Hunter Biden by name while angling to get a meeting with top U.S. government officials.
An email written in 2016 by a State Department official, which Sen. Chuck Grassley obtained, says: “Karen Tramontano of Blue Star Strategies requested a meeting to discuss with [Under Secretary] Novelli [U.S. Government] remarks alleging Burisma (Ukrainian energy company) of corruption. She noted that two high profile U.S. citizens are affiliated with the company (including Hunter Biden as a board member).”
“The firm’s co-founders did mention that Hunter Biden was on their client’s board when seeking a meeting at the State Department,” reported Politico, which then quoted the Wall Street Journal. “They ‘mentioned him again during the meeting as part of an effort to improve Burisma’s image in Washington,’ according to the paper.”
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Blue Star leveraged Hunter Biden in other ways, too. It met in December 2015 with Amos Hochstein, then-senior advisor to Vice President Biden on international energy affairs, and dropped the VP’s son’s name.
Another contradiction is that Blue Star claims it didn’t actually do any lobbying; it just wanted to find out if Pyatt’s comments about Burisma’s leader—and Hunter Biden’s employer—being corrupt was just his own opinion or the official State Department view.
But you can do that with a phone call to a press agent. Nobody hires a lobbying firm for that information, do they?
Even with all the evidence piling up, Blue Star might be able to skate, because technically FARA only makes lobbyists register as foreign agents if they work for the government or a politician. And technically Zlochevsky was no longer in office when Blue Star started doing his bidding with the Bidens.
But that may not hold water this time.
“Justice Department enforcement of FARA is (getting) considerably more rigorous,” said David Laufman, who used to oversee prosecutions of the act during the Trump administration. “The risks of non-compliance with FARA are therefore greater than in years past.”
Hunter Biden is reportedly also under investigation for other crimes thanks to his laptop.
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The walls may just be closing in on Hunter Biden on every front. Can the Big Man be far behind?
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”