Taking a MacBook in for repair and forgetting about it would cost most of us dearly. Few, if any, have faced so steep a price as Hunter Biden.
And the price keeps getting steeper. On Monday, emails obtained off the laptop by the Washington Free Beacon allegedly showed lawyers with Boies Schiller Flexner, a law firm for which Hunter Biden served as counsel, tried to avoid registering under the Lobbying Disclosure Act for its work with Ukrainian energy giant Burisma — where Biden was a board member.
“Heather King, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner, detailed the lobbying strategy in emails to Biden, his business partners, and an executive for Burisma Holdings in 2014. King wrote that she planned to provide legal and political services for Burisma ‘right up to the line’ at which the law firm would have to disclose the work under federal lobbying laws,” the Free Beacon’s Chuck Ross reported.
“King also wrote of plans to meet with State Department officials in order to advocate for Burisma, which was seeking to expand its operations in the West as its owner was the subject of an international bribery investigation.”
The strategy is decidedly swampy, but the arrangement is one way to subvert federal lobbying laws. Ross noted that Boies Schiller Flexner isn’t being accused of malfeasance in the matter and a lawyer for the firm said the plans laid out in the email complied with federal law, but declined to comment on the record.
In the email, King recommended that Burisma hire ML Strategies as its official lobbyist. King could then work with ML Strategies, a move that would circumvent Boies Schiller Flexner having to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act or, even worse, the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The emails from Biden’s laptop indicate King, a member of the firm’s Crisis Management and Government Response Team, was the lead strategist for Boies Schiller Flexner regarding its work for Burisma.
In May of 2014, she said she wanted to contact officials in the State Department to “‘update’ them on Burisma’s current situation.” She would presumably also “update” government officials when she sat in on meetings with them with ML Strategies owner David Leiter.
“We at [Boies Schiller Flexner] will lead all this work and can execute the political and legal work right up to the line where we would need to register as lobbyists, but I don’t want to register under the lobbying disclosure act or the foreign agents registration act,” King wrote in a May 12, 2014, email to Biden and Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s business partner, according to the Ross report.
In a further email to Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi, King wrote that, because she wasn’t registered as a lobbyist, she would attend meetings with ML Strategies “strictly as” a lawyer.
Just in case there was a moment’s doubt how Burisma found its way to Boies Schiller Flexner, Biden referred the company to the Crisis Management and Government Response Team of the law firm where he was counsel in April of 2014, shortly after joining Burisma’s board, according to the report. At the time, Biden and Archer were being paid more than $80,000 a month by Burisma, Ross wrote.
The swampiness doesn’t end there, as it turns out another member of the crisis management team Biden directed Burisma to, Hampton Dellinger, is a Biden administration Justice Department nominee, Ross reported. According to Bloomberg, Dellinger has been picked to head the department’s Office of Legal Policy.
According to the Free Beacon report, King left Boise Schiller in 2015 temporarily to serve as general counsel for Theranos, a company that was to health care technology what Enron was to energy companies in the century’s first decade.
The founder of the Boise Schiller law firm, David Boies, also represented Theranos, the Silicon Valley startup whose top executives have been charged with running a “multi-million-dollar scheme to defraud investors, and a separate scheme to defraud doctors and patients,” according to a Justice Department news release.
The company’s blood test technology, which was supposed to revolutionize the industry, didn’t actually work even though it had been deployed.
Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes and former company president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani are facing two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud, the Justice news release states.
Presumably, the Biden administration won’t be appointing them to anything.
Despite a Gordian knot of conflicts of interest and untoward appearances, a government ethics watchdog said these aren’t necessarily uncommon tactics for a firm that doesn’t want to report lobbying activity, according to the Free Beacon report.
“There is a lot of lobbying that takes place that’s never reported,” Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight, told the Free Beacon.
He said that lawyers and consultants often “play fast and loose” with lobbying laws by characterizing their lobbying as educational activity or by operating just under the threshold where lobbying is legally required to be disclosed, Ross reported.
Or, as King wrote, they can take it “right up to the line” where they would have to register.
At least Boies Schiller Flexner isn’t under investigation at the moment as far as we know. However, another Biden-linked consulting firm is being investigated by the Justice Department for illegal lobbying on behalf of Burisma, Politico reported earlier this month.
Blue Star Strategies is under investigation for whether it failed to comply with the Foreign Agents Registration Act by not disclosing work for Burisma, including when Blue Star’s co-founders met with government officials on the energy giant’s behalf, according to Politico.
Hunter Biden has now, apparently, taken up the life of an in-demand abstract painter. This would, under ordinary circumstances, be met with a sigh of relief by those inside the Beltway; as a laughable artist, at least there wouldn’t be another Burisma in his future.
Unfortunately, he left behind that pesky laptop.
The water-logged Mac is worthless as a computer. For Hunter Biden and all those who interacted with him, during his time using it, however, it’s the most exorbitantly priced piece of tech in recent history.
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