Grassley: Treasury didn't provide some bank records related to Russia

Grassley: Treasury didn't provide some bank records related to Russia
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTen post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators On The Money: Conservatives rally behind Moore for Fed | White House interviewing other candidates | Trump, Dems spar on Tax Day | Budget watchdogs bemoan 'debt denialism' GOP senators double down on demand for Clinton email probe documents MORE (R-Iowa) on Monday demanded the Treasury Department explain why it did not provide Congress with certain bank records sought in an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“Withholding information from congressional inquiries while leaking that same type of information to the media cannot be tolerated,” Grassley said in a statement.

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In 2017, when Grassley was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he had asked the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network for documents about Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) pertaining to certain individuals, as part of the panel’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election. SARs are documents that banks file to Treasury when they suspect certain illegal activity.

Treasury provided Grassley with documents, and said that it provided him with all of the records relevant to his request, according to a letter Grassley sent to Treasury last week.

However, Grassley said that a BuzzFeed article published last month, about a Russian-born lobbyist who was at a controversial June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, “referenced hundreds of thousands of dollars transferred among individuals and entities” mentioned in Grassley’s document request to Treasury.

Grassley asked Treasury to provide him with the documents mentioned in the BuzzFeed article and an explanation of why the documents were withheld earlier.

Separately, Grassley sent a letter to the IRS last week asking the agency what it is doing to prevent leaks of sensitive information, after the Justice Department announced it has charged an IRS analyst who allegedly disclosed SARs relating to President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE's former attorney, Michael Cohen.

The analyst is accused of leaking SARs containing information related to Cohen to Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump and Cohen.

“Sensitive banking information should be kept under lock and key to protect Americans’ personal privacy, and access should be limited to official investigative matters,” Grassley said in his statement Monday. “The reckless treatment of this information and investigative inquiries jeopardizes that privacy and risks undermining ongoing investigations.”