FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—President Joe Biden has nominated a former colleague of his son Hunter Biden—they worked together at a law firm representing Ukrainian energy company Burisma—to run an internal watchdog agency in his administration.
Biden tapped lawyer Hampton Dellinger on Tuesday to lead the Office of the Special Counsel, an agency that primarily investigates whistleblower complaints and misuse of federal office for partisan political ends.
This move should raise concerns since it comes at a time when whistleblowers from the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department have criticized the credibility of a yearslong government investigation into Hunter Biden, House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer said Wednesday.
“President Biden’s decision to appoint Hunter Biden’s former colleague as head of the Office of Special Counsel raises concerns that he’s trying to protect his son instead of whistleblowers,” Comer, R-Ky., told The Daily Signal in a written statement.
“The Office of Special Counsel is responsible for investigating whistleblower retaliation at agencies like the departments of Justice and the Treasury,” Comer added. “Naming a Biden family crony to this position does not instill confidence that the law will be enforced fairly.”
The Senate must vote to confirm Biden’s nomination of Dellinger.
Dellinger was a partner at the Washington law firm of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP from May 2013 to November 2020, when Joe Biden won the presidential election, according to the lawyer’s LinkedIn page.
Hunter Biden worked at the same law firm as a counsel from 2010 to 2017, while his father was vice president. In 2014, the younger Biden brought in Burisma as a client for the firm at the same time he took a seat on the Ukrainian energy company’s board.
House Republicans have begun an impeachment inquiry into the president’s conduct, including whether he knew of or profited by his son’s business dealings in foriegn countries, including China, Russia, Ukraine, and Romania.
The president previously nominated Dellinger to be assistant attorney general overseeing the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, a position he held from October 2021 until this past June.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Dellinger worked on the Crisis Management and Government Response team at Boies Schiller Flexner. This is the D.C. legal team that worked with Burisma, but it’s not clear that Dellinger directly worked with Burisma executives.
The White House press release on the Dellinger nomination makes no mention of his work at the D.C. law firm. The White House did not respond to The Daily Signal’s inquiry seeking comment for this report.
The press release makes only a vague reference to Dellinger’s being “a partner at regional and national law firms,” and says that “he has represented whistleblowers and other clients challenging government activities.”
The Office of Special Counsel, or OSC, should not be confused with any of the special counsels appointed by the Justice Department to investigate either President Biden or former President Donald Trump.
The OSC, considered an independent federal investigative agency, operates with basic authorities specified in four federal statutes: the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. Provisions of these laws prohibit federal employees from devoting government time and resources to advancing partisan politics.
While he ran the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, Dellinger’s work included vetting potential Biden nominees to the federal judiciary, coordinating departmental rule-making, and handling policy assignments at the direction of Attorney General Merrick Garland or other department leaders, according to the White House announcement.
Dellinger also was chief legal counsel to then-North Carolina Gov. Michael Easley, a Democrat, from 2001 to 2003. Before that he had been a deputy attorney general for North Carolina.
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