By Chuck Ross, DCNF
A Senate committee voted along party lines Wednesday to subpoena a Democratic consulting firm that worked for Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company linked to Hunter Biden.
The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee authorized the subpoena for Blue Star Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting and lobbying firm owned by Karen Tramontano and Sally Painter, two former Bill Clinton administration officials.
Burisma hired Blue Star Strategies in 2015 as part of an effort to respond to allegations of corruption against the energy company.
Burisma brought Hunter Biden on as a board member in April 2014, just as his father was taking over as the Obama administration’s chief liaison to Ukraine.
Burisma paid the younger Biden hundreds of thousands of dollars as a board member even though he had no experience in the energy business or Ukraine.
State Department emails show that Tramontano and Painter reached out to agency officials regarding Burisma in 2016. One email shows that Painter reached out to Tony Blinken, who served as deputy secretary of state, in June 2016 to meet to discuss Ukraine. Blinken is now a top adviser on Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate committee that authorized the subpoena, had sought documents related to former Ukrainian diplomat Andrii Telizhenko’s work with Blue Star.
Telizhenko, who worked for Blue Star in 2016 and 2017, has met voluntarily with the committee but said that he could not provide some documents because they were protected by a non-disclosure agreement.
Johnson said Blue Star had refused to provide the documents in question.
Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the top Democrat on the Senate panel, criticized the subpoena following the vote.
“At this moment when Americans need us to work together, this extremely partisan investigation is pulling us apart,” he told the newspaper.
Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, a member of the committee, also blasted the vote and defended Tramontano, the Blue Star co-founder.
He also noted that Tramontano’s attorney is Peter Kadzik, a former Justice Department official in the Obama administration.
Kadzik came under scrutiny after emails released by WikiLeaks showed that he was in contact with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta regarding an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“I’m supporting this probe today because we need to get to the truth of the Bidens’ relationship with Burisma, and these hearings will provide the Senate with the full picture,” Republican Sen. Rick Scott said following the vote.