At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on 2/12/2020, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was grilled by Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) about the apparent double standard stemming from his department’s decision to deny a request for President Trump’s tax returns from House Democrats while at the same time gladly handing over financial records related to Hunter Biden to Senate Republicans.
Sec Mnuchin’s explanation, a plausible one, was that the request for Trump’s tax returns was governed by a different provision from the one governing records request related to Hunter Biden. According to Sec Mnuchin, the records request related to Hunter Biden was a SARS (Suspicious Activity Reports) request which he said Treasury has already released for over 1,000 individuals following requests by both Republican and Democratic committee chairs.
Specifically, Sec Mnuchin said, “The House disclosure of tax returns is subject to protections of 26 U.S.C. 6103 which on the advise of counsel as we documented, we had significant concerns. That’s very different than I believe what you[Sen Wyden] are referring to–SARS requests, which on a bipartisan basis we have responded to thousands ofSARS requests to the committees from both Republicans and Democrats on an equal basis.”
The question for House Democrats going forward is whether they can pin Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to this SARS rationale and get Treasury to release suspicious activity reports related to the Trump family from the myriad banking institutions they have been involved with, especially Deutsche Bank. This might prove particularly interesting given the fact that Attorney General William Barr’s daughter Mary Daly currently works at Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit (FINCEN), which presumably handles suspicious activity reports from the various banking institutions. Was Mary Daly installed at FINCEN for a reason? Hmm
Bottom line folks, getting Trump’s tax returns remains a very high priority for the majority of the American public. However, there are other financial records related to Trump and his family that House Democrats could pry loose using Sec Mnuchin’s SARS rationale, especially records related to Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank. Hopefully House Democrats will seize on this great opportunity Sec Mnuchin has unwittingly presented them with.
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