The Treasury Department turned over sensitive financial documents related to Hunter Biden to GOP party members in Congress as part of their efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and his business with a Ukraine energy firm. But just last year, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin refused to release Donald Trump’s tax returns after congressional Democrats requested the financial documents for their own investigation, saying that the request was politically motivated.
As The New York Times reports, the Treasury Department complied with a request issued by Republicans in the Senate so that they could look into the younger Biden. Republicans have sought to turn the conversation of the impeachment of Trump into a focus on any illegal or irresponsible dealings that the Bidens may have participated in. Senate Republicans have said that Biden’s position in the energy firm may have been a conflict of interest.
On the conclusion of the impeachment trial, which saw Trump acquited on all charges largely along party lines, Republicans pushed forward with their efforts to conduct an investigation into Burisma Holdings and Biden – a situation that was the focus of the impeachment inquiry after the president was accused of pressuring Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating Biden and Burisma.
But Democrats say that the Treasury Department has refused their requests to release information that would allow them to investigate the White House.
“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,” said Oregon Senator Ron Wyden’s representative. “The administration told House Democrats to go pound sand when their oversight authority was mandatory while voluntarily cooperating with the Senate Republicans’ sideshow at lightning speed.”
In April 2019, Mnuchin said that to release sensitive financial documents for a partisan investigation would set a dangerous precedent.
“The legal implications of this request could affect protections for all Americans against politically-motivated disclosures of personal tax information, regardless of which party is in power,” Mnuchin claimed.
He added, as AP News reported at the time, that he believed that the Democrats’ request raised concerns about the “constitutional scope of congressional investigative authority, the legitimacy of the asserted legislative purpose, and the constitutional rights of American citizens.”
Trump supported Mnuchin’s decision, claiming that he was under audit and wouldn’t release his tax returns as long as that situation was ongoing.
While Biden’s financial details didn’t include tax information, the documents released were reportedly of a highly sensitive nature.