- The top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee is accusing the Treasury Department of refusing to provide documents and information related to President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen.
- The documents Sen. Ron Wyden is seeking are related to Cohen’s dealings with the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.
The top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee is accusing the Treasury Department of refusing to provide documents and information related to President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer and his relationship with the Swiss drug company Novartis.
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said through a spokesperson on Wednesday that the Treasury Department was not cooperating with his request for information on Michael Cohen and his dealings with Novartis.
Last month, Michael Avenatti, the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels, released information about Cohen’s financial dealings. The information stemmed from Suspicious Activity Reports filed with the Treasury Department, which showed companies paid Cohen lucrative sums in exchange for his advising services following the presidential election.
Cohen had aggressively pitched himself to companies as someone who could get them what they wanted from Trump, but the companies revealed to have worked with him were often disappointed. Cohen did not disclose any of the payments.
Among those companies was Novartis, which paid Cohen in excess of $1 million for his services. Novartis paid Cohen through his company Essential Consultants LLC, which is the same vehicle Cohen used to facilitate the $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels to keep her quiet about her allegations of a 2006 affair with Trump.
The New Yorker spoke last month with the government official who allegedly leaked the documents. The official said they did so because they said others were missing from the Treasury Department’s “FinCen” database. A FinCen spokesperson released a statement saying that “under longstanding procedures,” the office “will limit access to certain” Suspicious Activity Reports “when requested by law enforcement authorities in connection with an ongoing investigation.”
The Treasury Department’s inspector general announced it was investigating whether someone internally leaked the documents to Avenatti and others.
In early May, Wyden sent a letter to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network requesting the Suspicious Activity Reports tied to Cohen’s firm and Novartis.
“Treasury refuses to respond to our request, let alone provide key financial documents related to Cohen and Cohen’s business dealings with Novartis. There is no excuse for this kind of stonewalling,” Wyden spokesperson Rachel McCleery said. “All other parties are engaging in the Committee’s inquiry.”
In response to the alleged stonewalling, Wyden said he was considering blocking additional nominees to the department. Already, Wyden has blocked one nominee as part of a standoff related to document requests involving Russia.
A Treasury spokesman told ABC News that the department doesn’t discuss specific requests related to committee investigation.
Cohen is under criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York for possible campaign-finance violations and bank fraud.