The Justice Department is reportedly investigating a consulting firm tied to Ukrainian energy company Burisma for allegations of potentially illegal lobbying that arose when President Joe Biden’s son Hunter was on the company’s board.
Blue Star has worked on several high-profile policy issues, including trade relations between the U.S. and China. The firm has represented a number of foreign clients, including an affiliate of a Latvian bank accused of money laundering by the U.S. Treasury Department.
But the firm’s work with Burisma is the sole subject of the DOJ’s investigation, according to sources.
Blue Star allegedly did not disclose its work for Burisma in any federal lobbying databases, even though it represented Burisma at the time.
The firm even met with U.S. government officials to discuss Burisma but did not tell the officials that Burisma was a client, according to a former DOJ official.
“The Justice Department could arguably assess that the lobbying firm was engaged in ‘political activities’ under FARA creating a facial obligation to register,” David Laufman, a former DOJ official, told Politico.
Karen Tramontano, one of Blue Star’s co-founders, claimed she did not know Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma when her firm agreed to take on the energy company as a client.
Tramontano admitted, however, that while representing Burisma, Blue Star “mentioned [Hunter Biden] during the meeting [with government officials] as part of an effort to improve Burisma’s image in Washington.”
There is no information that ties Hunter Biden to the investigation into Blue Star Strategies, according to Politico. But Hunter Biden himself is under federal investigation for alleged tax fraud and money laundering.
The Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office is leading the probe and is coordinating with lawyers in the National Security Division at the DOJ, according to Politico. The Delaware office is also leading the investigation into Hunter Biden’s potential tax violations.
Hunter Biden has denied any wrongdoing with his work for Burisma, but former president Donald Trump and his allies have maintained that his role represented a conflict of interest since his father was overseeing the America’s Ukrainian foreign policy at the time.
Burisma’s founder was under investigation by Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, when Joe Biden threatened to withhold approximately $1 billion in loan guarantees if Shokin was not replaced as prosecutor general.
“The whole thing is insane. Joe Biden is a corrupt politician. I’ve been saying it for a long time,” Trump said last year.
Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, hinted this week that the former president will reveal new information about Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings soon.
“I can tell you, there is more to come with Hunter Biden,” he said.
Trump’s efforts to encourage Ukraine to reopen a corruption probe that potentially implicated his then-political rival became the focus of Democrats’ first impeachment effort against him.
Although partisan impeachment managers claimed Trump was trying to coerce the former Soviet satellite by withholding support for its ongoing conflict with Russia, files from Hunter Biden’s recovered laptop—which was in the FBI’s possession at the time—later validated Trump’s concerns of corruption. He was later acquitted by the Senate.
“It’s amazing how Joe Biden and Hunter Biden actually had a quid pro quo, and to accuse President Trump of using his influence to enrich his family was just not accurate,” Meadows added. “And now, what we’re seeing is perhaps the real influence-peddling that took place was by then-Vice President Joe Biden.”
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.