by JAMES LYNCH at dailycaller.com
Blue Star Strategies, a lobbying firm recommended to Ukrainian energy firm Burisma by Hunter Biden, worked for a Ukrainian prosecutor who let Burisma off, internal State Department emails show.
Blue Star strategies called State Department official George Kent regarding then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko in September 2016, a few months after Blue Star met with State Department officials on Burisma’s behalf, according to internal emails first reported by the Washington Examiner.“
Need to give you a heads up that I took a call just now from Sally Painter from Blue Star Strategies, the first time we have interacted. I am confident it will be the last,” Kent said in an email with the subject line “Bullying, threatening call by Blue Star’s Sally Painter (Re Lutsenko),” according to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.
Sally Painter is the Chief Operating Officer of Blue Star. She runs the firm alongside Blue Star CEO Karen Tramontano. She joined Blue Star in 2010 and previously worked in the U.S. Department of Commerce under former President Bill Clinton.
“The topic/issue was Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko, and his now cancelled plans to come to Washington – a trip that Blue Star had apparently been arranging,” Kent wrote.
“Lutsenko told me he did not know who exactly had come to Kyiv and talked to him in July about coming to Washington. He said Blue Star had promised they could arrange access to high levels of the Clinton campaign, including someone who might lead her White House,” Kent continued.
Then-candidate Hillary Clinton was widely expected to win the 2016 presidential election at the time of Kent’s email. She was defeated by former President Donald Trump, the current frontrunner to win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, according to RealClearPolitics (RCP) polling averages.
“When Dan Fried called me in the summer, asking if I would be willing to talk to Painter, the subject was Zlochevsky, and allegedly the bad reputational deal he was getting. I warned Dan this was a sticky wicket, that Zlochevsky was viewed as corrupt,” he added.
Blue Star strategies met with State Department officials on behalf of Burisma and its founder Mykola Zlochevsky twice in early 2016, according to the firm’s May 2022 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) disclosure form. The firm said it was paid $60,000 for its lobbying activities, significantly less than what IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler said Burisma paid Blue Star.
“Beginning in November 2015 and continuing through the relevant period of 2016, Blue Star Strategies, registrant, was working on behalf of Burisma Holdings Limited (Burisma), a Ukrainian energy company, to further its commercial interests. Mr. Zlochevsky was a principal of Burisma at that time,” the form reads. “Registrant was asked in 2016 to help schedule meetings with U.S. Government officials so counsel for Mr. Zlochevsky could present an explanation of certain adverse proceedings in the U.K. and Ukraine involving Mr. Zlochevsky.”
A senate report from 2020 accused Blue Star of invoking its ties to Hunter Biden in its March 2016 meeting with State Department official Catherine Novelli that the firm disclosed. Hunter Biden recommended Blue Star to Burisma executive Vadim Pozharskyi right before the firm began lobbying for Burisma, emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop archive show. Biden was being paid over $80,000 a month to sit on Burisma’s board when he gave Blue Star his endorsement.
“Let me have one final call with them and verify once more that they understand the scope so we can all feel that the retainer is in line with the work required,” Biden said to Pozharskyi on Nov. 3, 2015, according to the email archive. “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.”
Pozharskyi had emailed Hunter Biden and his business associates the day before, urging them to pursue a more aggressive lobbying strategy on Burisma’s behalf.
“Devon [Archer] and I do feel comfortable with BS and the ability of Sally & Karen to deliver. You should go ahead and sign. Looking forward to getting started on this,” Hunter Biden told Pozharskyi two days later.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated Blue Star in 2021 for illegally lobbying on behalf of foreign principles, Politico reported at the time. IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley testified to the House Ways and Means Committee that the DOJ sat on a search warrant for Blue Star strategies in September 2020 ahead of the November presidential election.
Lutsenko was a pro-Maidan lawmaker who became head of the PGO following Viktor Shokin’s resignation as a result of pressure from then-VP Biden who threatened to withhold a $1 billion loan to Ukraine if Shokin was not dismissed.“
You remember last year I was authorized to say we’d do the second tranche of a billion dollars,” then-VP Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in 2016. “And he didn’t fire his chief prosecutor. And because I have the confidence of the president, I was there, and I said: ‘I’m not signing it. Until you fire him, we’re not signing, man. Get it straight. We’re not doing it.’”read more