House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer said Tuesday that the Treasury Department is refusing to provide an official to testify for a public hearing scheduled for this week as part of the panel’s probe into the Biden family’s business dealings.
The Kentucky Republican warned that the panel “is done with excuses” and is calling on Jonathan Davidson, assistant secretary for legislative affairs, to appear for a transcribed interview “under the penalty of perjury.”
“Treasury Department officials have repeatedly said that they are cooperating with the Committee’s request but all we’ve seen is obstruction,” Mr. Comer said. “We’ve offered multiple good faith accommodations, but Treasury continues to provide excuses and employ delay tactics.”
The committee scheduled the hearing, originally slated for Friday, amid accusations that the Treasury Department is obstructing the panel’s probe by refusing to hand over a tranche of reports flagging Hunter Biden’s potentially suspicious transactions.
Mr. Comer said Mr. Davidson was being called to “explain to Congress and the American people why the department is hiding critical information.”
After declining to appear for the public hearing Friday, Mr. Comer is demanding that Mr. Davidson appear for a deposition on March 14.
The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a letter last month to Isabella More, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for oversight, Mr. Comer said months of back-and-forth have raised suspicions and he demanded that she explain herself in person to the panel.
“During the Committee’s dialogue with Treasury, you have made several excuses for Treasury’s delay regarding this production,” Mr. Comer wrote in his letter concerning requests for close to 150 “suspicious activity reports” related to Hunter Biden.
“Given the amount of time that has passed since our initial request and Treasury’s inability to provide a projected timeframe when the SARs will be produced, the Committee believes Treasury may be delaying its production to hinder our investigation and operating in bad faith,” he wrote.
Mr. Comer’s requests for the suspicious activity reports, some of which have been provided to other committees, dating back to last spring, before Republicans took control of the House.
In May, Mr. Comer wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen requesting information on the suspected financial transactions related to Hunter Biden that U.S. banks had flagged as potentially suspicious.
Suspicious activity reports give banks a mechanism to flag transactions for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
In the May letter, Mr. Comer cited media reports claiming that “more than 150 of Hunter Biden and the Biden network’s international business transactions have generated suspicious activity reports by U.S. banks for further review by the Treasury Department to determine if there is illegal activity or a threat to national security.”
He said officials responding to his initial demands refused to hand over the reports unless the committee’s Democratic leaders signed off on the request.
In January, after Republicans took control of the House, Mr. Comer doubled down on his demands to Ms. Yellen.
“The committee is investigating President Biden’s knowledge of and role in these schemes to assess whether he has compromised our national security at the expense of the American people,” Mr. Comer wrote on Jan. 11. “Accordingly, we make this renewed request for certain records and information in Treasury’s custody.”
In response, department officials said they would “identify potentially responsive documents” and “make determinations concerning how to accommodate legitimate legislative needs while also protecting Executive Branch interests, including law enforcement needs.”
“While the Department will work as expeditiously as possible, this process will necessarily take time to complete,” Mr. Davidson wrote to Mr. Comer on Jan. 25.
Mr. Comer said nothing has happened since and he wants to know why.
“These suspicious activity reports are important to our investigation to help us follow the money and determine the national security implications of the Biden family’s shady business deals,” he said.
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