Joe Biden nominates former Hunter Biden law firm colleague as special counsel

President Biden has nominated Hampton Dellinger, who previously worked alongside Hunter Biden at a law firm involved with energy company Burisma Holdings, to serve as special counsel.

The White House announced the move in a Tuesday press release as the term of Henry Kerner, the position’s current occupant, expires. The Office of Special Counsel is primarily responsible for safeguarding the “merit system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisal for whistleblowing,” its website states.

Biden previously nominated Dellinger as an assistant attorney general overseeing the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, a position he held between October 2021 and June 2023. Dellinger had also previously donated to Biden’s candidacy.

Dellinger, who graduated from Yale Law School, worked on Boies Schiller Flexner’s Crisis Management and Government Response team while Hunter Biden served as counsel at the firm.

The firm had represented Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden had served on its board of directors.

Emails on Hunter’s abandoned laptop showed he worked intimately with lawyers on the firm’s crisis management team and indicated he attended a private gathering with Dellinger and other firm employees in March 2014.

In a February 2014 email, Dellinger told Hunter it was “great to see [him] last week” and asked whether he would be attending an attorney lunch. Hunter appeared to have a conflict, but said he would be in the office the next day.

“I will be here tomorrow and be great to catch up,” Dellinger said.

Communication from the laptop also showed that William Isaacson, a Boies Schiller Flexner partner, in March 2014 organized a dinner for individuals on the firm’s Crisis Management and Government Response team.

In one of the emails, Isaacson had said that Biden, Dellinger and others had confirmed their attendance at the dinner. Hunter Biden had also later asked several of the firm’s colleagues, including Dellinger, if the dinner was still taking place.

Hunter Biden, meanwhile, said he introduced Burisma as a potential client for Boise Schiller Flexner weeks after the scheduled dinner party.

In an April 2014 email, he stated he was brainstorming with the company to “think strategically about the current crisis and expansion of their existing domestic operations.” Hunter Biden had suggested they meet with the Crisis Management and Government Response team members.

Multiple Boise Schiller partners who were Cc’d on the emails that included Dellinger were closely in contact with Hunter and his longtime business partner, Eric Schwerin, in 2014 and 2015 as Hunter relied on them for crisis management for Burisma-related matters. Partners Michael Gottlieb, Karen Dunn, and Heather King were frequently mentioned in Burisma-related emails. However, it is unclear whether Dellinger was involved.

Dellinger has also previously donated to President Biden’s campaign and Biden Victory Fund. According to campaign finance records, he gave a combined $1,500 to both entities during the 2020 presidential election.

The position Biden nominated Dellinger for is unrelated to the special counsel currently investigating the president’s handling of classified documents. Instead, it works to safeguard whistleblowers and deals with potential Hatch Act violations.