House Oversight chairman seeks Biden family financial transaction data
Rep. James Comer, in one of his first moves as House Oversight Chairman, is seeking information from the Treasury Department about the Biden family’s financial transactions and calling on a handful of former Twitter executives to testify in a public hearing.
The new round of letters from the committee comes as House Republicans seek to flex their investigative powers and follow through on promises to dig into the Biden family’s finances and alleged political influence over tech companies after Twitter temporarily suppressed a story of of 2020 about Hunter Biden and his. laptop.
“Now that the Democrats no longer have one-party rule in Washington, oversight and accountability are coming,” Comer said of his panel’s investigation into Hunter Biden and the Biden family’s business dealings. “This investigation is a top priority for House Republicans during the 118th Congress.”
Comer asked Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to provide his panel with reports of banking activity for Hunter Biden, President Biden’s brother James Biden and certain associates of the Biden family and their related companies.
“The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is investigating President Biden’s involvement in his family’s foreign business practices and international influence peddling schemes,” Comer wrote to Yellen.
Comer tried to obtain these bank activity reports, known as Suspicious Activity Reports, repeatedly when Republicans were in the minority, but was largely unsuccessful. Comer said he saw only two and did not reveal the source of those reports.
Comer has previously pointed to bank activity reports — known as Suspicious Activity Reports — as evidence of possible wrongdoing by members of Joe Biden’s family. But such reports are not conclusive and do not necessarily indicate wrongdoing. Every year, financial institutions submit millions of suspicious activity reports, and few of them lead to law enforcement investigations.
The White House accused Republicans of engaging in “political stunts” after Comer’s request on Wednesday.
“In their first week as the governing majority, House Republicans have taken no meaningful action to address inflation and cut costs for Americans, yet they are jumping out of the gate with political stunts fueled by the most extreme members of MAGA of their caucus in an effort to get attention on Fox News,” Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House counsel’s office, said in a statement. “The president will continue to focus on the important issues that people care about. The American people want their leaders to work together, and we hope House Republicans will join them.”
Comer is also seeking communications within the Treasury Department, his financial crimes enforcement division and the White House about those family members and related businesses and associates that he wants returned by Jan. 25.
The letters to former Twitter officials provide a path forward for Comer’s investigative plan. Letters to former head of justice, politics and faith Vijaya Gadde; former head of trust and security Yoel Roth; and former deputy general counsel James Baker are calling on the trio to appear at a public hearing the week of February 6. They come after Comer sent an early round of letters in December asking for their testimony.
“Your participation is necessary because of your role in suppressing Americans’ access to information about the Biden family on Twitter shortly before the 2020 election,” each of the letters to former Twitter employees said.
Republicans have seized on the so-called Twitter files as evidence of government censorship, although none of the messages released so far show the FBI explicitly telling Twitter to suppress a story that included material from a laptop belonging to it. Hunter Biden. An FBI agent at the center of the controversy, as well as several federal officials and technology executives, have all denied there was any such order, CNN previously reported.
Roth, meanwhile, has said publicly that the Hunter Biden story looked like it could be the product of a hack-and-leak operation, but he has denied that he personally tried to censor the story.
“It has been widely reported that I personally directed the suppression of the Hunter Biden story. This is not true. It’s absolutely, unequivocally untrue,” Roth told tech reporter Kara Swisher in a podcast interview last year.
Comer’s requests come as he and Chief Justice Jim Jordan vowed to investigate the federal government’s influence over technology companies.
In an interview with CNN earlier this week, Comer suggested that judiciary staff could participate in some of his committee’s interviews if there are areas of common interest, such as with Twitter.
“There is some overlap, but that won’t be a problem for Jim and I,” Comer said in the interview. “He knows who we’re bringing. We know who he’s bringing.”
This story was updated with additional developments on Wednesday.