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 GrassleyOvernight Health Care: Trump officials defend changes to family planning program | Senators unveil bipartisan package on health costs | Democrats pass T spending bill with HHS funds Overnight Health Care: Trump officials defend changes to family planning program | Senators unveil bipartisan package on health costs | Democrats pass T spending bill with HHS funds Grassley announces opposition to key Trump proposal to lower drug prices 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 TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' 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.”