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Waters Demands Answers from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin

At today’s Financial Services Committee hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, called for Secretary Mnuchin to address several matters of concern, including a May 23 letter from Committee Democrats requesting information regarding the financial dealings of President Trump, his family members, and his associates, that Mnuchin did not answer.

On Tuesday, Committee Republicans blocked a Resolution of Inquiry introduced by Ranking Member Waters and Committee Democrats to direct the Treasury Secretary to provide Congress with documents on the financial dealings of President Trump, his family members, and his associates.

The Ranking Member’s full opening statement is below:

Thank you Mr. Chairman, and welcome Secretary Mnuchin.

Mr. Mnuchin, as Secretary of the Treasury, you have a wide range of responsibilities that are of great importance to our economy and the wellbeing of the American people. These range from safeguarding our financial system to advancing U.S. values internationally.

One bureau within the Treasury responsible for safeguarding our financial system is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, which, as you know, collects, analyzes, and disseminates financial intelligence. In addition to suspicious activity reports, foreign bank and financial account reports, and other reports, FinCEN has numerous information sharing arrangements with foreign Financial Intelligence Units, making the bureau well positioned to identify and assist law enforcement in curtailing illicit activity.

It is critical for the American public to learn the extent to which President Trump, his immediate family and his associates colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of last year’s election. Serious questions have been raised about their suspicious financial arrangements and involvement with Russian government officials, oligarchs and organized crime leaders. As the committee of jurisdiction over the Treasury and FinCEN, we, too, have our own share of questions.

Fortunately, you, as Secretary of the Treasury, are well-positioned to assist this Committee in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities in assessing President Trump’s financial entanglements with Russia. However, even though you have indicated, I think on more than one occasion, that you do take claims that you take requests from Members of Congress seriously, you did not respond a May 23rd letter from me and my Democratic colleagues requesting copies of all pertinent financial records related to President Trump’s financial transactions with and business ties to Russia, as well as those of his family members and associates. Now, I understand your staff finally called yesterday afternoon while we were preparing for this hearing, but I am looking forward to hearing directly from you about this matter today.

There are also other areas where I have serious concerns.

Indeed, in June, the Treasury released a report with recommendations that largely mirror Chairman Hensarling’s “Wrong Choice Act.” You recommended gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and rolling back important Dodd-Frank reforms, including rules in place to ensure the stability of our financial system, like stress tests and living wills. These recommendations are deeply harmful and shortsighted given the progress we’ve made since the financial crisis.

I also remain very concerned by the practices that took place at OneWest under your leadership. Even though OneWest foreclosed on over 36,000 families in California, and that it has been the subject of numerous investigations, this president has selected numerous OneWest officials, including yourself, to fill key government posts. For example, Joseph Otting, a former OneWest Executive, has been nominated by Trump to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates the largest banks.

Committee Democrats are very concerned about the potential for conflicts of interest with regard to a recent Department of Justice settlement with OneWest and any pending investigations into OneWest for wrongdoing that occurred during your tenure.

I look forward to hearing you address these matters today. I yield back the balance of my time.


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