Hunter's Law Firm Could Cash Out on Biden's Controversial Order

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
April 25, 2022

President Joe Biden's plan to compensate the families of 9/11 victims suing the Taliban could be a windfall for a Democrat-aligned law firm that employed Hunter Biden.

Joe Biden in February announced an executive order that awards $3.5 billion in assets seized from Afghanistan's central bank to a group of families of 9/11 victims who sued the Taliban. The law firms representing the families could make tens of millions of dollars in legal fees. One of the firms is Boies Schiller Flexner, where Hunter Biden served for several years as counsel. The firm's three founders contributed a combined $174,000 to Joe Biden's presidential campaign and the Biden Victory Fund, according to campaign finance records.

Several factions—American military veterans, the families of other 9/11 victims, human rights groups, and Republican lawmakers—have blasted the executive order. They say Biden improperly bypassed the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which Congress created to compensate all terrorism victims. Instead, critics say Biden's plan will compensate a few select families with high-powered lawyers. More than 400 veterans and military families this month called on Biden to reverse the executive order and distribute the Afghan money through the Victims Fund.

Critics of the executive order have focused on the role of Lee Wolosky, a lawyer for the 9/11 families who recently served as White House counsel on Afghanistan issues. Wolosky, a partner at the firm Jenner & Block, in February signed a court brief urging a federal judge to lift a hold on the $3.5 billion payment to the 9/11 families. Two Boies Schiller Flexner partners, Stuart Singer and David Barrett, also signed the brief as co-counsel for the families. Wolosky was a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner until 2020.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) said the Biden connections to both Wolosky and Boies Schiller Flexner raise concerns about the executive order.

"The conflicts of interest here show how Democrats are all connected in the 'Swamp,'" Jordan, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon. Jordan has asked the White House for records about Wolosky, saying the lawyer's stint in the administration creates the "perception of impropriety."

Hunter Biden served as a consultant for Boies Schiller Flexner from 2011 to 2017. He brought the firm one of its most controversial clients, the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. Biden served on the board of the scandal-plagued company while his father led the Obama administration's anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.

Emails from Hunter Biden's laptop show that he and Boies Schiller Flexner partners discussed strategies for a public relations campaign for Burisma. Biden and his Boies Schiller Flexner colleagues also discussed lobbying for Burisma, though the firm has not registered with Congress as a lobbyist for the company. Biden is reportedly under investigation over his foreign entanglements, including whether he violated lobbying laws. Boies Schiller Flexner has not been accused of wrongdoing as part of that probe, though other firms with which Biden worked are reportedly subjects of the investigation.

Boies Schiller Flexner has generated controversy for representing several unsavory clients. David Boies, the firm's founder, helped Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein investigate women who accused him of sexual assault. He also worked for Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to kill stories that exposed the company's fraudulent blood testing technology.

It is unclear whether Biden and Wolosky worked together at Boies Schiller Flexner. But emails from Biden's laptop show some discussions with partners at the firm regarding the recovery of 9/11 funds. Biden asked a firm partner about hiring two investigators who had worked on the case. The partner said he would forward it to Wolosky and Singer, the Boies Schiller Flexner partner handling the 9/11 litigation.

Boies Schiller Flexner did not respond to a request for comment. The White House did not respond to a request for comment about the law firm. A White House spokesperson previously said Wolosky recused himself from discussions about the Afghanistan funds when he served in the administration.