Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was accused on Wednesday of scuttling requests for documents from Democratic lawmakers.
The topic came up at a Senate Budget Committee hearing when Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) questioned the treasury secretary about a Democratic request for President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
“With respect to responding to requests on congressional oversight,” Wyden said, “I look at the record and it seems that Democratic requests get shoved to the back of a filing cabinet. Somehow Republican requests get the red carpet treatment.”
Wyden noted that the statutory language clearly states that the Treasury Department “shall provide” requested tax returns, meaning that the department has no choice in the matter.
“Certainly, to me, it looks political,” Wyden continued. “The request from the Democratic chair with a firm legal basis was met with nothing but foot dragging.”
Meanwhile, he said that a request from Republican lawmakers “got VIP treatment.”
“It looks to me like there’s a double standard here,” Wyden observed. “You all are tipping the scales of congressional oversight.”
Mnuchin claimed that the Treasury Department had responded to Democrats “multiple times.”
“As I explained, the House disclosure of tax returns is subject to [U.S. Code] 2103, which on the advice of counsel, as we have documented, we had significant concerns,” Mnuchin opined.
The Treasury secretary insisted that his department had responded to “thousands” of other requests from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
“Mr. Secretary!” Wyden interrupted. “You are stonewalling about stonewalling!”
“Well, that’s really not fair at all,” Mnuchin complained.
“Double standard,” Wyden stated. “Two committee chairs, one gets no response with legal authority, that’s the Democrat. The Republican gets a quick response.”
“Again, that’s just not fair,” Mnuchin repeated.
“It’s a fact,” the senator remarked.
Wyden’s remarks come in the first few minutes of the video below.
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) February 12, 2020