A top Democratic Senator is locked in a fight with the US Treasury Department to obtain records about Trump and Russia from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to the Senate Finance committee.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and he just placed a hold on a Treasury nominee to pressure FinCEN into delivering to the Finance Committee the documents which they gave to secretive Senate Intel committee on which the Senator already sits.
Congressional staffers on Capitol Hill told Occupy Democrats anonymously that, “Senate Finance has experts in those fields and more, like the intricacies of laws governing shell corporations as one example.”
Some of them believe the Oregon Senator may be attempting to move key Russia evidence from its secretive home in one committee into the public spotlight in the Senate Finance committee. CNN reports:
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has placed a hold on a senior Treasury Department nominee in a bid to pry loose financial documents tied to Russia… [He] said Friday he was placing a hold on Isabel Patelunas, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be Treasury’s assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis, until Treasury hands over the documents he’s seeking.
“I have placed a hold on the nominee because of the Treasury Department’s refusal to provide the Senate Finance Committee with Treasury documents related to Russia,” Wyden said in a statement. “The provision of these documents to the committee is not only part of the oversight process, but is necessary if the relevant congressional expertise is to be brought to bear on the effort to follow the money.”
“When a Senator says something like this,” says the Democratic Coalition’s co-founder Scott Dworkin. “He’s really saying: “This is some sort of proof that Trump has a money trail to Russia.'”
One Senate Finance committee aide told OD that the committee hasn’t received any of FinCEN’s documents yet, and “the Treasury Department is refusing access. This Committee has direct oversight when it comes to tax, financial crimes, and the Treasury Department.” The aide noted that if the FinCEN documents are confidential, they’ll remain so within the Senate Finance committee.
Trump’s Taj Majal was slapped with a $10 million dollar fine by FinCEN in 2015, the largest ever for money laundering at that time after the IRS completed investigating his casino. CNN revealed that IRS investigators found money laundering crimes committed at Trump’s Taj Mahal going all the way back to 1990.
The Senate Intelligence Committee made headlines for requesting documents about Trump from FinCEN in May.
Intel committee investigators reviewed 2,000 pages from FinCEN starting in late June, and today’s events may mean that they’ve found something so important, they need it to go public.
This is the second time Sen. Wyden is holding up a key Treasury nominee to obtain documents from FinCEN about Trump’s Russian ties.
Senator Wyden’s request for Russia-linked financial information about Donald Trump could include his tax returns since the IRS is FinCEN’s primary money laundering investigator.
Today’s news may quietly signal the launch of a highly specialized Congressional probe into Donald Trump and the Trump Organization’s worldwide conglomerate of companies listed on his tax returns.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.