FIRST ON FOX: The consulting firm co-founded by Hunter Biden’s former business associate raked in over $500,000 from the pro-Joe Biden super PAC Unite the Country between December 2019 and December 2022, a Fox News Digital review found.
Julianna Smoot in 2014 became an advisory board member of Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners (RSTP), an affiliate of Rosemont Seneca Partners, the fund co-founded by Hunter Biden, after she previously served in multiple positions in the Obama administration and was the Obama for America deputy campaign manager for the 2012 reelection campaign.
Emails from Hunter’s infamous abandoned laptop dating back to February 2014, which have been verified by Fox News Digital, showed Rosemont officials discussing Smoot’s agreement with the company to sit on the board.
‘Great speaking with you today! We are delighted about you partnering with us and honored to have you as a member of our advisory board!’ the firm’s then-managing director John DeLoche wrote to Smoot on Feb. 28, 2014, cc’ing Hunter and Rosemont Seneca’s Eric Schwerin, Devon Archer, William Lee, Rob Walker and Neil Callahan.
‘As discussed, please find attached an overview of RSTP and a more detailed private placement memorandum. These will give you some good background on the fund,’ DeLoche wrote. ‘We are looking forward to discussing in more detail over dinner next Wednesday in DC.’
A few days later, DeLoche invited Hunter and his assistant, Katie Dodge, to dinner in Washington, D.C., with Smoot, Lee and himself, writing, ‘It would be great if Hunter could attend at the beginning, end or stop by anytime for a quick hello.’ The invitation followed an email from Hunter, who appeared to be angry he wasn’t looped in on hiring Smoot, saying, ‘So– I guess WE made the decision to hire her. Want to share any details with me?’
‘We followed your lead from Monday and did not go down the retainer path. We have made no economic commitment to her. Plan is to work out financial details at Wed dinner,’ DeLoche responded. ‘Would love input from the team on this. We were thinking a small equity stake (perhaps 1% of the GP) that would vest over 5 years while she is an advisory board member, coupled with a nominal expense related retainer. This would only be for fund II and we could reevaluate thereafter.’
A little over a month later, on April 16, 2014, Schwerin, a longtime Hunter Biden business partner and frequent visitor to the White House during the Obama-Biden administration, emailed the partners, writing, ‘Attached is the redlined version of Julianna’s agreement as marked up by her lawyer. The major change is making the agreement with the Smoot Tewes Group instead of Julianna herself but the agreement specifies Julianna is providing the services.’
DeLoche responded, in part, saying, ‘Let’s hope she can bring some capital to a closing and it pays for itself. Let’s get her to sign.’
‘Great,’ Schwerin replied. ‘I’ll get her to sign on Monday.’
In another email around that same time, DeLoche confirmed that Smoot was the ‘only advisory board member as of now’ while discussing other potential members.
After her stint at RSTP, Smoot went on to become co-founder of the Blue Lake Strategies public affairs consulting firm, which received more than $500,000 from Unite the Country in less than three years.
The super PAC made 42 payments, totaling nearly $550,000, to Blue Lake Strategies for fundraising consulting and travel reimbursement between Dec. 23, 2019, and Dec. 16, 2022, according to Federal Election Commission records. The firm also received nearly $50,000 for fundraising consulting between 2018 and 2019 from Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters’ leadership PAC and thousands of dollars more from his campaign.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan made Smoot the city’s chief development officer in September 2021. She currently serves as a board member of the Obama Foundation and is founder and senior adviser at WaterWorks – the WaterWorks’ 2021 annual report lists Smoot as the CEO of development services of Blue Lake Strategies.
Smoot isn’t the only person tied to Hunter Biden getting paid by the pro-Biden super PAC, Unite the Country. Mark Doyle, a former Joe Biden aide who discussed foreign business opportunities with Hunter Biden within his emails, funneled over $600,000 from the super PAC to his Chicago-based firm, Prairie Avenue Advisors, from late 2019 through December 2022.
Fox News Digital previously reported on multiple exchanged emails between Doyle, who was registered as a foreign agent on behalf of the Republic of Serbia at the time, and Hunter Biden early in his father’s first term as vice president during the Obama administration, where they plotted a potential business meeting with then-Serbian President Boris Tadic and Serbian ‘high net-worth individuals.’
According to a disclosure filed with the Department of Justice, Doyle was registered as a foreign agent through the same Chicago-based firm as Unite the Country, and he principally dealt with Serbian Ambassador to the United States Vladimir Petrovic, who Hunter Biden met for the first time in February 2010 alongside Tadic’s national security adviser, Jovan Ratkovic.
‘I met with Tadic’s Chief of Staff Thursday[sic] when I was there and he asked about you. The Ambassador must have relayed your conversation,’ Doyle wrote in an April 2010 email, referring to Petrovic.
Another email from 2010 reveals that Doyle alerted Hunter that Petrovic, who was serving as the Serbian ambassador to the United States at the time, ‘wants to start putting together a full day for you with Tadic and potential investors.’
‘They are ready to get people who can commit immediately when you are there, very serious people from what I understand,’ Doyle added.
It is unclear whether Hunter or Schwerin ended up visiting Serbia or taking Petrovic up on his offer to meet with wealthy business individuals in Serbia. However, emails show that Hunter, Schwerin and Petrovic continued to communicate after Petrovic become a D.C. lobbyist after leaving the ambassadorship.
Smoot and Hunter Biden’s lawyer did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
Fox News’ Joe Schoffstall contributed reporting.