The office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) says recent disclosures from the office of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) could interfere with the Senate Finance Committee’s investigation of Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Citing Wyden’s spokesperson, Yahoo News reported on Feb. 6 that the Treasury Department is “rapidly complying” with a request from Grassley’s office for financial documents on Biden. A spokesperson for Grassley criticized the disclosure in a statement to The Epoch Times.
“It’s unfortunate that Democrats whom we’ve kept in the loop on our investigations would recklessly seek to interfere with legitimate government oversight,” said Taylor Foy, a Grassley spokesperson.
Grassley, whose initial inquiry to the department dates back to mid-August 2019, received a classified briefing about the inquiry in October.
The spokesperson for Wyden’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
In the Yahoo News report, a spokesperson for Wyden, who is the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, claims that the Treasury Department is giving preference to requests from Republicans over those from the Democrats.
“Applying a blatant double standard, Trump administration agencies like the Treasury Department are rapidly complying with Senate Republican requests—no subpoenas necessary—and producing ‘evidence’ of questionable origin,” Ashley Schapitl, a Wyden spokesperson, said in a statement.
“The administration told House Democrats to go pound sand when their oversight authority was mandatory while voluntarily cooperating with the Senate Republicans’ sideshow at lightning speed.”
Three Republican-led Senate committees are investigating Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine and China. The Republicans sent a wave of requests in November 2019 to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the State Department, and the National Archives.
The Yahoo report cites a “source familiar with the matter” to claim that the Treasury began to comply with the FinCEN request two months after Grassley’s initial inquiry on Nov. 15. Three weeks after Grassley filed his request, Wyden and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) wrote a letter to FinCEN calling on the agency to act free of partisan influence and to handle requests from Congress in the order they’re received.
“FinCEN must take steps to ensure that its partnership with Congress is free of partisan influence. FinCEN’s integrity is vital to its mission, and any appearance of favoritism could compromise FinCEN’s ability to promote national security,” the senators wrote.
The Treasury Department didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The Republicans’ document requests in November went out when House Democrats were conducting an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and are closely related to the matters in the impeachment inquiry. The Democrats probed whether Trump abused his power when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to probe Hunter Biden. The Republicans specifically inquired about the subject the president brought up on the July 25, 2019, phone call with Zelensky.
Trump asked Zelensky to “look into” the firing of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. Joe Biden has bragged about forcing Shokin’s ouster by withholding $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine. At the time Joe Biden applied the pressure, his son was receiving as much as $1 million per year to serve on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company under investigation by the prosecutor general. Weeks prior to being forced to submit his resignation, Shokin seized the assets of Mykola Zlochevsky, Burisma’s owner.
The FinCEN documents reportedly that were provided to Grassley could be particularly illuminating, since the public’s knowledge about Hunter Biden’s financial transactions is limited to financial statements disclosed during the trial of his business partner, Devon Archer, who also served on the board of Burisma. The statements show Archer and Biden receiving over $83,000 per month from Burisma starting in 2014.
The Bidens say they have done nothing wrong. Hunter Biden stepped down from Burisma’s board in April 2019.
The Senate acquitted Trump on both counts brought by House Democrats, who impeached the president for inquiring about Biden’s conduct. The Democrats alleged that the president abused the power of his office by pressuring an allied nation into conducting investigations into his political rivals and obstructed Congress when the Democrats opened inquiries into the matter.