Burisma Consultants are Registering as Foreign Agents. But Not Hunter Biden.

January 5, 2024

A second consultant for the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings registered as a foreign agent this week, raising more questions about Hunter Biden’s refusal to do the same.

John Buretta, a partner at Cravath, Swaine, and Moore, disclosed in filings with the Justice Department that he lobbied for Burisma and its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, in 2016 and 2017. Buretta, a former Justice Department official, met with four federal officials to discuss bribery investigations against Burisma, according to the filings. Blue Star Strategies, a Democratic lobbying firm, registered as a foreign agent for Burisma in May 2022 as part of a settlement with the Justice Department.

Burisma hired Biden in April 2014—at a salary of $80,000 per month—to help secure business deals and to improve the company’s reputation in the West. Republicans have maintained that the company hired Biden because of his father’s work as vice president on issues related to Ukraine.

Biden has denied wrongdoing and refused to register with FARA but acknowledged Burisma likely hired him because of his last name. Biden recruited Blue Star Strategies in 2015 to provide public relations and lobbying on behalf of Burisma. Blue Star, owned by Democratic operatives Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, tapped Buretta to handle legal work on behalf of Burisma.

Buretta’s disclosure could fuel concerns that the government has gone easy on Biden over his foreign business dealings. Special Council David Weiss charged Biden last month with felony tax evasion, but Biden’s critics have said he should also be prosecuted for lobbying on behalf of Burisma and clients in Romania and China.

There is growing evidence that the younger Biden spoke with U.S. officials, including his father, about Burisma. Biden introduced his father to a Burisma executive at a Washington, D.C., dinner in 2015. Devon Archer, a former Hunter Biden business partner and Burisma board member, told Congress that Biden often put his father on speakerphone during meetings with Zlochevsky and other Burisma executives. Archer testified that Zlochevsky asked Hunter Biden "to get help from D.C." regarding the investigation into Burisma.

Biden also met with his father’s energy adviser, Amos Hochstein, in November 2016 to discuss Burisma, Hochstein told Congress. Hochstein said Hunter Biden "wanted to know my views on Burisma and Zlochevsky."

Hochstein is one of the officials who met with Buretta, according to government filings. The pair met in March 2016. Buretta also met with State Department official Catherine Novelli, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and Justice Department official Bruce Swartz.

A spokesperson for Buretta's law firm told the Washington Free Beacon he registered his work for Burisma after discussions with the Department of Justice. The Justice Department and Biden’s lawyers also did not respond to comment requests.