The federal Treasury Department has again rebuffed Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), now the chair of the House Oversight Committee, in his push for financial documents known as suspicious activity reports connected to the Biden family. For now, he’s still not getting the requested materials.
A newly available letter from the department to Comer outlines concern about a potential lack of clarity in the chairman’s intentions with the financial information. The letter cites the possibility of interference in ongoing investigations by law enforcement, something that could transpire through the either intentional or accidental leak of the contested details. Suspicious activity reports, or SARs, are sometimes filed for purely routine purposes that do not on their own confirm any kind of criminal or even unethical activity. Reports to the federal government are required for cash transactions that pass $10,000 in a single day and “suspicious activity that might signal criminal activity,” according to a Treasury Department webpage. Comer, though, has been after a cache of these reports connected to the Bidens since last year. His general focus includes Hunter.
In May of last year, when he was neither the oversight chair or confirmed as on his way to the position, Comer made a related request for information to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. By September of last year, the department was formally pushing back against Comer’s investigative efforts in writing.
“Given the critical need to protect this information, the BSA generally prohibits its disclosure except as specifically authorized by statute or regulation,” a missive from that time says, referring to a piece of federal law called the Bank Secrecy Act, which covers the required reports of ostensibly suspicious activity. That letter also outlined the very specific requirements for information about the present and future contours of a probe before the release of reported details — requirements Comer evidently didn’t meet, at least in his earlier requests. The relevant regulatory framework allows a release of info to Congress “upon a written request stating the particular information desired, the criminal, tax or regulatory purpose for which the information is sought, and the official need for the information.”
Comer, of course, is mad. “This coordinated effort by the Biden Administration to hide information about President Biden and his family’s shady business schemes is alarming and raises many questions,” he claimed this week, although it’s simply unclear there’s any kind of “coordinated effort” at all. Elsewhere, the Justice Department recently sent a letter to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) outlining its own intention against providing the high-profile Congressman with information about active investigations at the department, at least information that wasn’t already made public in some special circumstance, although it doesn’t appear that category would generally include responding to reports in the media. Jordan is leading the House Judiciary Committee and a subcommittee of that panel dealing with the so-called weaponization of the federal government, which is GOP gibberish for investigations they don’t like.
“Longstanding Department policy prevents us from confirming or denying the existence of pending investigations in response to congressional requests or providing non-public information about our investigations,” that letter to Jordan said.
More Comer: "We will continue to press for access to suspicious activity reports generated for the Biden family and their associates, and will use the power of the gavel to get them if needed.”
— Max Cohen (@maxpcohen) January 25, 2023