Burisma Lobbyists Celebrated ‘Victory Lap’ With Hunter Biden’s Business Associate After Founder Was Let Off, Emails Show

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

James Lynch Contributor
Font Size:

Lobbyists for Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings celebrated a “victory lap” with Hunter Biden’s business associate in October 2016 when Ukrainian authorities let off the firm’s founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, newly released emails show.

Blue Star Strategies executive Sally Painter emailed Hunter Biden’s business associate Eric Schwerin on Oct. 11, 2016, celebrating Zlochevsky no longer being wanted by Ukrainian authorities, according to emails released Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee. Blue Star is a lobbying firm that worked with Burisma.


A lobbyist from Blue Star emailed Painter and Blue Star executive Karen Tramontano an article in the Ukrainian press describing how Zlochevsky was “no longer wanted.” (RELATED: Burisma Received Joe Biden’s Talking Points From Lobbyists Ahead Of His Trip To Ukraine, Memo Shows)

“We won and in less than a year. Yea!!!” Painter said in an email forwarding the article to Schwerin.

“Awesome work! Congrats to you and Karen!” Schwerin replied.

“U brought us in so take a victory lap,” Painter told Schwerin.

Hunter Biden recommended Blue Star to Burisma in November 2015 when he was board member of the energy firm, according to emails from the younger Biden’s laptop archive. Burisma paid Hunter Biden more than $80,000 per month to sit on the company’s board despite his lack of experience in Ukraine and the energy sector, bank records released by the House Oversight Committee show.

Hunter Biden’s former business associate Devon Archer testified to House Oversight in July, saying the Biden family “brand” protected Burisma from scrutiny. Archer testified about a spring 2015 dinner Joe Biden attended alongside Burisma executive Vadim Pozharskyi, and he said Hunter Biden “called D.C.” in December 2015 due to pressure from Zlochevsky and Pozharskyi. Archer could not confirm whether Joe Biden was on the other end of the phone call. (RELATED: Joe Biden’s Office Colluded With Hunter’s Business Associate On Burisma Inquiries, House Oversight Says)

Blue Star disclosed its relationship with Burisma in a May 2022 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) form that includes its meetings with State Department officials and how much the firm was paid for its work. The FARA form submitted by Blue Star lists $60,000 worth of payments for its work with Burisma, a significantly lower figure than the $540,000 IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler testified Blue Star brought in for its services.

An internal memo released Wednesday by the Ways and Means Committee shows Blue Star sent Burisma a list of talking points ahead of then-Vice President Joe Biden’s December 2015 Ukraine trip. Burisma learned about Joe Biden’s talking points after Blue Star participated in a conference call with Obama administration officials, according to the December 2015 memo.

Blue Star also sent Burisma a memo in October 2015 with a list of Obama administration officials it could lobby on Burisma’s behalf. The October memo from Blue Star proposed a “Crisis Communications” strategy the firm would deploy if Burisma hired Blue Star to carry out lobbying on the company’s behalf. Blue Star’s first point of action for Burisma was to “work to support the closing of the company file in Ukraine,” the October 2015 memo shows.

Blue Star also did lobbying work for then-Ukrainian prosecutor prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, internal State Department emails from September 2016 show. The emails were released as part of a Senate investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings that culminated in a Senate report released ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Lutsenko became Ukrainian prosecutor general after then-prosecutor Viktor Shokin was fired in spring 2016 due to pressure from then-VP Biden, who threatened to withhold a $1 billion loan guarantee if Shokin was not removed.

The House Ways and Means Committee released the Blue Star documents as part of a trove of documents substantiating the testimony from IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler. Both IRS whistleblowers have accused the Department of Justice (DOJ) of giving Hunter Biden special treatment during its investigation into his taxes and firearms possession.

“This evidence makes clear Hunter Biden’s business was selling the Biden ‘brand’ and that access to the White House was his family’s most valuable asset – despite official claims otherwise,” Republican Missouri Rep. Jason Smith, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said in a Wednesday press release announcing the new documents.

Hunter Biden is suing the IRS because of what his legal team argues are illegal disclosures by the whistleblowers in their testimony and cable news interviews. The whistleblowers have responded to the lawsuit by accusing Biden of trying to silence them over their testimony.

Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings and the IRS whistleblower testimony are central to the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. A memo released Wednesday ahead of the first impeachment inquiry hearing shows the Biden family and its business associates brought in more than $24 million from Ukraine, Russia, China, Romania and Kazakhstan from 2014-19 by using a web of shell companies.

Blue Star did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment by the time of publication.