House GOP picks first fight over bureaucratic stonewalling in Hunter Biden probe

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer is forcing Treasury to explain why it is withholding suspicious activity reports from Hunter Biden business transactions: "They're just sitting on the ball."

Published: March 5, 2023 9:51am

Updated: March 5, 2023 11:11pm

Frustrated already by bureaucratic stonewalling, House investigators are picking their first fight to compel evidence from the Biden administration by pressuring the Treasury Department to release suspicious activity reports filed by banks that flagged concerning business transactions involving Hunter Biden and his business associates.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, told Just the News that he has summoned a top Treasury Department official to a hearing this week to explain why the agency is unwilling to release SARs, a prelude to a possible subpoena and financial punishment of the department.

He accused the administration of trying to delay critical evidence until after the 2024 election. 

"That's their whole strategy: run out the clock, run out the clock," he told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show over the weekend. "You know, they want the subpoena. It goes to court. ... They're just sitting on the ball. They wan't the clock to expire."

Comer wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Jan. 11, requesting access to the SARs, the latest of several requests dating back to last year. The Treasury Department has not provided the documents to date. Comer said the Treasury lawyer who has declined to provide the documents will be called to testify this Friday. 

"She can try to explain to us why, under President Biden, this is the first administration that's blocked the House Oversight Committee or the House Financial Services Committee from having access," Comer said. "The whole purpose to these suspicious activity reports was to be be able to help everyone work together in trying to track down crime. And the fact that she's blocking this and that they are on the accounts of the president of the United States and his immediate family is very troubling."

The hearing is the first in a series of steps House Republicans plan to take to get evidence or punish the bureaucrats who won't turn it over. Comer said in addition to subpoena fights, House Republicans plan to vote to defund non-complying witnesses in the government when the new fiscal budget takes effect on Oct 1.

"So we're looking now for when October 1 starts to identify a specific bureaucrat who refuses to cooperate with our investigation, specific bureaucrats who have clearly abused their power, who don't answer to Congress, who don't answer to the legislative agenda that receive the orders from the people," he explained.

"If they don't abide by the Constitution, they're going to be singled out," he warned. "We're going to cut their salary. And this is something that they better take seriously, because this is the one way we can start to chip away at the out-of-control, control excessive bureaucracy."

Comer said Republicans are also looking to cut other expenses, either by forcing the government to get rid of federal lease and building space or to fire bureaucrats who are refusing to come back to work since the end of the pandemic. The head of the Office of Personnel Management, the federal government's HR director, is being summoned to appear before Congress.

"We have 47% of the workforce working from home," he said. "We've got productivity and efficiency going down. We have so many questions for the Director of OPM."

Comer's escalation comes as another powerful investigator, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, has issued his first subpoenas into the treatment of FBI whistleblowers exposing the weaponization of government.

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