GOP Senate Inquiry Launched Into Hunter Biden-Treasury Dept. Responds
GOP Senators Launch a Probe Into Hunter Biden's Shady Business
Posted: Feb 05, 2020 7:25 PM
Now that the Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) want to get to the bottom of Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine and China.
Grassley, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Johnson, the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, on Wednesday sent a letter to U.S. Secret Service Director James Murray about Biden's travel arrangements. Specifically, the committees want to know if the Obama administration approved a transaction that benefited Biden, as well as former Secretary of State John Kerry's stepson, Christopher Heinz.
The pair also wants to know if taxpayer funds were used for Hunter Biden's travel and security detail for trips he made to Ukraine.
Below is the text of theletter (emphasis mine):
Dear Mr. Murray:
The Committee on Finance and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs ("the committees") are reviewing potential conflicts of interest posed by the business activities of Hunter Biden and his associates during the Obama administration, particularly with respect to his business activities in Ukraine and China. In addition to several letters that the committees have sent to other agencies as part of that inquiry, the Committee on Finance also has written to the Department of Treasury regarding potential conflicts of interest in the Obama-era CFIUS approved transaction which gave control of Henniges, an American maker of anti-vibration technologies with military applications, to a Chinese government-owned aviation company and China-based investment firm with established ties to the Chinese government. That transaction included Rosemont Seneca Partners, a company formed in 2009 by Hunter Biden, Christopher Heinz, and others.
We write to request information about whether Hunter Biden used government-sponsored travel to help conduct private business, to include his work for Rosemont Seneca and related entities in China and Ukraine. In December of 2013, one month after Rosemont Seneca's joint venture with Bohai Capital to form BHR, Hunter Biden reportedly flew aboard Air Force Two with then-Vice President Biden to China. While in China, he helped arrange for Jonathan Li, CEO of Bohai Capital, to "shake hands" with Vice President Biden.4 Afterward, Hunter Biden met with Li for reportedly a "social meeting." After the China trip, BHR's business license was approved. Then, in 2015, BHRjoined with Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to acquire Henniges, which was the "biggest Chinese investment into US automotive manufacturing assets to date."
In addition to business dealings in China, Hunter Biden also served as a board member for Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company. In April 2014, around the time Hunter Bidenjoined Burisma, Vice President Biden reportedly became the "public face of the administration's handling of Ukraine." It is unclear whether Hunter Biden received government sponsored travel or a protective detail for these endeavors.
Accordingly, to help the committees better understand Hunter Biden's travel arrangements to conduct business related to his dealings in Ukraine and China, among other countries, while he received a protective detail, please provide the following information no later than February 19, 2020:
Please describe the protective detail that Hunter Biden received while his father was Vice President.
Please provide a list of all dates and locations of travel, international and domestic, for Hunter Biden while he received a protective detail. In your response, please note whether his travel was on Air Force One or Two, or other government aircraft, as applicable and whether additional family members were present for each trip.We anticipate that your written response and most of the responsive documents will be unclassified. Please send all unclassified material directly to the Committees. In keeping with the requirements of Executive Order 13526, if any of the responsive documents do contain classified information, please segregate all unclassified material within the classified documents, provide all unclassified information directly to the Committees, and provide a classified addendum to the Office of Senate Security. The Committees comply with all laws and regulations governing the handling of classified information. The Committees are not bound, absent their prior agreement, by any handling restrictions or instructions on unclassified information unilaterally asserted by the Executive Branch.
If you have any questions about this request, please contact Joshua Flynn-Brown of Chairman Grassley's staff at (202) 224-4515 or Brian Downey and Scott Wittmann of Chairman Johnson's staff at (202) 224-4751. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Charles E. Grassley
Committee on Finance
Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs
Treasury responds to GOP requests for Hunter Biden, Burisma info
BY JORDAIN CARNEY - 02/06/20 02:52 PM EST
Treasury responds to GOP requests for Hunter Biden, Burisma info
The Treasury Department has handed over documents to a pair of GOP Senate chairmen as part of a months-long probe into Burisma Holdings, Ukraine and Hunter Biden, according to the top Democrat on one of the panels.
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) — the chairmen of the Finance and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees, respectively — sent a letter to the Treasury Department in November saying they were investigating "potentially improper actions" during the Obama administration.
The Treasury Department is complying with their request, according to a spokeswoman for Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, who noted that Democratic requests for information have been stonewalled. "For its part, the Trump administration refused to comply with all Democratic requests for documents and witnesses associated with impeachment. 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 spokeswoman for Wyden, said in a statement.
The development was first reported by Yahoo News, with a source telling the publication that the Treasury Department began complying with the Grassley-Johnson request in less than two months.
A spokesman for the Treasury Department didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the November letter — which was not publicly released by either of the committees but obtained by Reuters — Grassley and Johnson say that they are "conducting an investigation into potentially improper actions by the Obama administration with respect to Burisma Holdings ... and Ukraine."
They then request any "suspicious activity reports" and related documents that have been filed in regard to Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, and Burisma Holdings, the Ukraine gas company that Hunter Biden worked at. Schapitl declined to discuss the content of the documents being turned over from the Treasury Department but noted that the administration was "voluntarily cooperating with the Senate Republicans’ sideshow at lightning speed.”
Asked about the Treasury Department handing over documents, Taylor Foy, a spokesman for Grassley, said that they routinely do not "discuss sensitive third-party material during ongoing investigations."
"It’s unfortunate that Democrats whom we’ve kept in the loop on our investigations would recklessly seek to interfere with legitimate government oversight," he added. A suspicious activity report, according to the Treasury Department, is filed by a financial institution when they find an "initial detection of facts" pointing to a suspicious activity in an account. That includes filing reports on cash transactions that exceed $10,000 and reporting activity that "might signal criminal activity," in an effort to prevent money laundering.
The letter to the Treasury Department is one of several that Grassley and Johnson, sometimes in conjunction with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have sent as they've probed potential conflicts of interest stemming out of the Obama administration.
Trump and his GOP allies have sought to tie then-Vice President Joe Biden's push in 2016 for the dismissal of Uranian Prosector General Viktor Shokin to Hunter Biden's business interests. They've also argued that allowing Joe Biden to work on Ukraine policy while his son was on the board of Burisma was a conflict of interest.
Fact-checkers have debunked claims that Biden was acting with his son's interest in mind. The former vice president has denied wrongdoing, and there's no evidence that either Biden engaged in any criminal wrongdoing.
Republicans have also sent letters to the State Department requesting information related to Hunter Biden and Ukraine.
A Republican aide told The Hill that the department has informed Grassley and Johnson that they have documents in their possession that are relevant to their requests. But the aide stressed that there is not an established timeline for when those documents will be turned over.