For years now, the Treasury Department has been fighting tooth and nail NOT to hand over a trove of ‘Suspicious Activity Reports’ generated through a series of questionable Biden family financial transactions.
What are these Suspicious Activity Reports we keep hearing about?
Suspicious Activity Reports are not your average financial tracking document. It is a particular kind of document that banks around the world are obligated to report under specific circumstances. Reuters describes the American version this way:
ASuspicious Activity Report (SAR) is a document that financial institutions, and those associated with their business, must file with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) whenever there is a suspected case of money laundering or fraud. These reports are tools to help monitor any activity within finance-related industries that is deemed out of the ordinary, a precursor of illegal activity, or might threaten public safety.
The criteria for providing a SAR differs from country to country and even from institution to institution, depending on the nature of the suspicious activity and the particulars of the bank or fund. In the United States, FinCEN requires a suspicious activity report in a few instances. First, if financial institutions believe an employee engaged in insider activity, they must file a report. However, it is not limited only to employees. Financial institutions monitor customer transactions, too. If potential money laundering or violations of the BSA are detected, a report is required. Computer hacking and customers operating an unlicensed money services business also trigger an action. Once potential criminal activity is detected, the SAR must be filed within 30 days.–Reuters
What do these reports mean in today’s context?
There’s more to this story than just a box of documents, as explained by the website ICIJ…
They are required when a bank observes a transaction that seems suspicious — for example, if it appears to involve money laundering or corruption. A suspicious activity report (SAR) is not an accusation, it’s a way to alert government regulators and law enforcement to irregular activity and possible crimes.
FinCEN Files includes more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports mostly filed between 2011 and 2017 flagging more than $2 trillion worth of transactions. –ICIJ
That website makes two relevant points. One, they peg the number of these reports somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,100 in that time window, and two, these reports exist as a way to alert government regulators and law enforcement to irregular activity and possible crimes.
Seeing as we have a laptop full of incriminating evidence, several former associates having flipped on Biden and providing evidence to GOP investigators, an admission in Hunter Biden’s own voice that he was working with ‘the spy chief of China’, and corrobaration from external sources of the various incriminating transactions, it is reasonable to view the Biden Family transactions as potentially ‘problematic’. It doesn’t help matters any that one of Hunter’s former business partners is already sitting in prison for fraud.
As our (unique) ClashDaily says, ‘Hunter’s Laptop Matters’.
Remember how the FinCen files makes reference to some 2,100 suspicious activity reports in that window of time? We don’t know for sure what percentage of the total existing files that might represent, but the Treasury Department is said to have been sitting on some 150 Suspicious Activity Reports involving the Biden family.
And with the laptop showing evidence of the comingling of Joe and Hunter’s finances, this could be a real problem not just for Hunter, but for Joe himself.
The Treasury Department was stonewalling
For years now, the Treasury Department has refused to provide information about these reports despite them being written expressly for law enforcement and ‘government regulators’. Elected members of Congress have final authority over oversight of all government departments, including Treasury, but every GOP request for these documents since Biden took office has been denied. The excuse given before the midterms was that they would only provide them if the majority cosigned the request. When McCarthy’s GOP took back the gavel in January, Treasury continued to stiff-arm requests for these documents.
Jonathan Turley reminds us why the House GOP would want — and have a right to — these documents, especially since impeachment (should that come up) must originate in the House.
The SARs are relevant to the scope of the alleged influence peddling. It could also supply added evidence of possible criminal charges over tax crimes as well as unlawful work as a foreign agent. There are also possible allegations of evading financial rules, false statements, and even money laundering. — JonathanTurley
The Treasury Department blinks first
With GOP ramping up the pressure, and calling for testimony under oath for exactly WHY the Treasury Department was unwilling to comply, they finally agreed to provide the requested information.
“After two months of dragging their feet, the Treasury Department is finally providing us with access to the suspicious activity reports for the Biden family and their associates’ business transactions,” Comer (R-Ky.) said.
“It should never have taken us threatening to hold a hearing and conduct a transcribed interview with an official under the penalty of perjury for Treasury to finally accommodate part of our request.”
The reports, which Comer requested last year when he was ranking member of the committee, and again in January, are likely to flesh out details in the money trail involving the Biden family’s relationships in China, Russia, Ukraine and potentially other countries.
The Treasury Department is requiring committee members and staff to review the material in camera — i.e., privately — though it’s unclear what if any ground rules would prevent the rapid dissemination of key details.
“For over 20 years, Congress had access to these reports but the Biden Administration changed the rules out of the blue to restrict our ability to conduct oversight,” Comer charged. –NYPost
What are they looking at?
Comer gives us a hint:
“According to bank documents we’ve already obtained, we know one company owned by a Biden associate received a $3 million wire from a Chinese energy company two months after Joe Biden left the vice presidency,” he said.
“Soon after, hundreds of thousands of dollars in payouts went to members of the Biden family. 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.” –NYPost
Why does this step matter?
Remember Nixon? How did someone who had won 49 states in his election bid get forced to resign? The public was presented with such overwhelming information that even Nixon’s allies abandoned him. The public turned on him and he had no choice.
Some zealous GOP members are desperate to impeach Biden. Even if they believe that is the morally just thing to do, that does not make it a wise or successful strategy. The public might believe he is inept, but that is not the same as being corrupt. Only if they believe their President is a ‘crook’ will people in both parties demand his head on a platter, politically speaking.
Reuters; ICIJ; JonathanTurley; NYPost