Democrat hits Mnuchin for giving Hunter Biden docs to Republicans
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) is criticizing the Treasury Department for providing Republican senators with financial records as part of their probe concerning Hunter Biden.
Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, blasted the department for turning over the documents while at the same time refusing to provide House Democrats with President Trump’s tax returns.
“Continuing to violate the law to shield Donald Trump’s tax returns while simultaneously aiding a blatantly partisan investigation is an affront to public service,” Pascrell wrote in a letter dated Thursday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Pascrell’s letter comes after a spokeswoman for Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Thursday that the Treasury Department is complying with a request for documents from two Senate GOP chairmen.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) sent a letter to Treasury in November as part of an investigation into “potentially improper actions by the Obama administration” concerning Ukraine and Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company where Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, worked.
The two senators sought any “suspicious activity reports” and related documents about Burisma, Hunter Biden and others from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Financial institutions file suspicious activity reports with FinCEN about actions that might signal criminal activity in an effort to help the federal government detect and prevent money laundering.
A Treasury official did not comment specifically on the request from Grassley and Johnson but said the department responds to congressional requests for information, including information from FinCEN, from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Democrats argue that the Trump administration has stonewalled their requests for information.
Last spring, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) sent requests and subpoenas to the Treasury Department and the IRS for six years of Trump’s federal tax returns, saying his committee was conducting oversight and considering legislative proposals about how the IRS audits presidents.
Neal cited a section of the federal tax code that states that the Treasury secretary “shall furnish” tax returns requested by the chairs of Congress’s tax committees.
The Trump administration rejected Neal’s requests and subpoenas, arguing they lacked a “legitimate legislative purpose” and that Democrats’ true objective in seeking the tax returns was to make public the tax information of a political rival. The dispute has yet to be resolved in the courts.
Pascrell said in Thursday’s letter that Mnuchin’s participation in the Senate GOP probe “is unacceptable, but made far worse when compared beside your adamant refusal to obey the law … by providing Donald Trump’s tax returns to the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee pursuant to his request of April 3, 2019.”
The New Jersey Democrat called on Mnuchin to end his “stonewalling and give the Ways and Means Committee its requested information.” He also asked Mnuchin to provide information about any Biden financial records that the Treasury Department has given to the Senate and what legitimate legislative purpose is fulfilled by complying with the GOP request.
A source familiar with the two congressional requests said there are a number of differences between them, including that Republicans aren’t seeking information on tax returns.