Biden probe reveals $3M payment from Chinese energy company to family associate
The House Oversight and Accountability Committee has uncovered a $3 million wire payment from a Chinese energy company sent to an associate of the Biden family months after President Biden ended his term as vice president, the panel’s Chairman James Comer announced Tuesday.
Mr. Comer said members of the Biden family received “hundreds of thousands of dollars in payouts” soon after the wire cleared. The Kentucky Republican has not revealed who specifically received the wire payment and which members of the Biden family were said to have received the so-called payouts.
The payment was revealed among bank documents provided by the Treasury Department to the committee through an in-camera review after a months-long standoff with committee Republicans over the lawmakers’ request for a tranche of suspicious activity reports as part of the probe into the Biden family’s business dealings.
“We are going to continue to use bank documents and suspicious activity reports to follow the money trail to determine the extent of the Biden family’s business schemes, if Joe Biden is compromised by these deals and if there is a national security threat,” Mr. Comer, Kentucky Republican, said. “If Treasury tries to stonewall our investigation again, we will continue to use tools at our disposal to compel compliance.”
Committee Republicans say the Treasury Department is holding on to nearly 150 suspicious activity reports related to Hunter Biden. Suspicious activity reports give banks a mechanism to flag transactions for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
For months, Republicans have been engaged in a fruitless back and forth with the Treasury Department to hand over additional information on suspected financial transactions related to Hunter Biden that U.S. banks flagged as suspicious.
Mr. Comer has accused the agency of obstructing the committee’s probe into the Biden family by refusing to hand over the suspicious activity reports, which he said have been made available to members of Congress for decades.
In January, the Treasury Department said it would “identify potentially responsive documents” and “make determinations concerning how to accommodate legitimate legislative needs while also protecting executive branch interests, including law enforcement needs.”
Mr. Comer has demanded that Jonathan Davidson, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs, appear for a transcribed interview “under the penalty of perjury” to “explain to Congress and the American people why the department is hiding critical information.”
In a March 3 letter obtained by The Washington Times, Mr. Davidson told Mr. Comer that “the department has consistently engaged with the committee in good faith on this matter.”
Mr. Davidson added, “The time required to fully respond to your letter reflects the breadth of the committee’s multiple requests, the consultations with your staff that have been necessary to clarify the scope of the requests, and the review that is required to identify law enforcement sensitivities attendant to Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) information that may be responsive to your requests. These are the same processes, and similar timelines, that the department followed when it received requests from committee chairs in the prior Congress.”
Mr. Davidson also wrote, “As you know, appropriately safeguarding this information is critical to law enforcement efforts to investigate money laundering, terrorist financing and other illicit financial activity.”
Mr. Comer announced that the committee has postponed its interview with Mr. Davidson in light of the Treasury Department providing access to the reports.
Mr. Comer has made the Biden family’s financial transactions the centerpiece of a probe into the long trail of suspicious business ventures involving the president and his son.
In a November report detailing Hunter Biden’s far-flung business deals that have raised eyebrows for years about potential influence peddling, committee Republicans cited a publicly available suspicious activity report obtained by the committee that details “93 wires between 02/03/2014 and 08/02/2019 totaling $2,461,962.60” between Biden associates and “a Shanghai-based investment fund controlled by the Bank of China.”
Republicans say Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, also pursued deals with Chinese Communist Party-linked energy tycoons and allegedly pocketed more than $3 million from a Russian businesswoman who is the widow of a former mayor of Moscow.
Citing evidence obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop and through whistleblowers, Mr. Comer said his committee had uncovered a “decade-long pattern of influence peddling, national security risks and political cover-ups” committed by the Biden family with the knowledge and involvement of the president.
Mr. Comer said the evidence laid out in the report “raises troubling questions” about whether the president has been “compromised by foreign governments” in connection with his son’s ventures.
Earlier this week, the top Democrat on the committee revealed that Mr. Comer subpoenaed Bank of America for more than a decade of records related to Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland disclosed the Feb. 27 subpoena in a scathing letter accusing Republicans of carrying out a one-sided probe into the Biden family while overlooking alleged conflicts of interests and foreign influence under President Donald Trump.
Mr. Raskin accused Mr. Comer of taking his probe to the extreme with demands in “over 70 letters to virtually anyone who you believe can provide information on any aspect of Hunter Biden’s life despite a complete lack of evidence that any of these individuals or their financial transactions personally benefited a government official or influenced, in any manner whatsoever, U.S. government policy.”
Mr. Raskin added, “You have now also begun to use the committee’s subpoena power to compel at least one financial institution to turn over personal bank account records of private individuals.”
The Bank of America subpoena requested “all financial records” for three individuals dating back to Jan. 20, 2009 — when Mr. Biden was vice president, Mr. Raskin said.
Mr. Comer justified the subpoena by saying that “by 2017, Biden family members and their associates, including John R. Walker, formed a joint venture with CEFC China executives.”
CEFC China is a defunct Chinese energy conglomerate with suspected ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
“These documents go well beyond any business deal with Hunter Biden or CEFC,” Mr. Raskin said. “I fear this wildly overbroad subpoena suggests that your interest in this investigation is not in pursuing defined facts or informing public legislation but conducting a dragnet of political opposition research on behalf of former President Trump.”
A spokesperson for the committee said it has begun to receive at least some of the subpoenaed documents and that the records “solidify our understanding of several areas of concern and have opened new avenues of investigation about the Biden family’s business schemes.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.