Senate Republicans this week called on the White House to withdraw its nomination of Hunter Biden's former law associate to serve as head of the office that handles federal whistleblower complaints.
The Washington Free Beacon reported last month that President Joe Biden nominated Hampton Dellinger to lead the Office of Special Counsel. Dellinger worked until 2020 at Boies Schiller Flexner, a top Democratic law firm. His stint there overlapped with Hunter Biden's position as counsel to the firm, where the younger Biden worked on behalf of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings.
Emails from Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop show that the first son worked closely with Boies Schiller's crisis management team, of which Dellinger was a member, to craft a public relations and lobbying strategy for Burisma as the Ukrainian firm faced several bribery investigations. Biden and Dellinger exchanged emails and attended a private dinner for the law firm's crisis management team in 2014, the Free Beacon reported.
Republicans say that relationship raises "serious" conflict-of-interest concerns about Dellinger, who serves as head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy.
"Put simply, Mr. Dellinger's connection to the Hunter Biden Burisma matter gives us serious pause about his nomination to be Special Counsel," Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Tom Cotton (Ark.), and John Cornyn (Texas) wrote in a letter to President Biden.
The senators noted that Dellinger, if confirmed, would be in charge of investigating allegations of retaliation against federal whistleblowers. At least two IRS investigators have filed whistleblower complaints regarding the Justice Department's handling of its investigation into Hunter Biden's taxes and his foreign business dealings.
The whistleblowers, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, have also accused IRS and Justice Department officials of retaliating against them for expressing concerns about the probe. In July, Grassley called on the current head of the Office of Special Counsel, Henry Kerner, to investigate the alleged retaliation against Shapley and Ziegler.
In their letter, the Republicans urged Biden to withdraw Dellinger's nomination and find a nominee who is "free from even the appearance of a conflict of interest."
"Mr. Dellinger's reported connection with Hunter Biden and the Burisma matter creates significant doubt that he can carry out his duty to safeguard the IRS whistleblowers, who are critical in shedding light on the two-tiered system of justice perpetrated under your watch," the senators wrote.
Republicans have investigated whether Joe Biden, as vice president, pulled strings on behalf of Burisma Holdings to help his son. Hunter Biden was tapped in April 2014 to serve on Burisma's board of directors.
Shapley and Ziegler, the IRS investigators, have alleged that Hunter Biden failed to pay taxes on his income from Burisma in 2014 and 2015. An unidentified FBI whistleblower provided Senate Republicans with an FBI memo that alleges the owner of Burisma discussed paying bribes to Joe and Hunter Biden to shut down corruption investigations against his firm.
The White House, which did not respond to a request for comment, has vigorously denied that Joe Biden accepted bribes from Burisma or intervened to help the company on behalf of his son.