Sen. Ron Wyden places hold on Treasury nominee for Russia financial documents


Story highlights

  • Isabel Patelunas was nominated in June for an assistant Treasury secretary post
  • Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has placed holds on nominees before

Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate finance committee, said Friday he was placing a hold on Isabel Patelunas, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be Treasury’s assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis, until Treasury hands over the documents he’s seeking.

“I have placed a hold on the nominee because of the Treasury Department’s refusal to provide the Senate Finance Committee with Treasury documents related to Russia,” Wyden said in a statement. “The provision of these documents to the committee is not only part of the oversight process, but is necessary if the relevant congressional expertise is to be brought to bear on the effort to follow the money.”

Wyden wants documents from Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a unit that monitors global financing and frequently investigates money laundering.

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The Treasury Department said that it had already responded to the request of a separate committee, the Senate intelligence committee, for FinCEN documents.

“Treasury has fully cooperated with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. As a member of that committee, Senator Wyden has full access to these documents,” a Treasury spokesperson said. “We see no reason why he is holding up a qualified expert in a key intelligence role.”

FinCEN did not return a CNN call seeking comment.

Patelunas, who was nominated in June for the Treasury post, has been an official at the CIA for nearly three decades.

Her nomination was taken up by the Senate intelligence committee, which is the committee investigating possible connections between Trump’s team and Russian officials. The intelligence panel held a confirmation hearing for Petalunas and moved her nomination to the floor in July.

Wyden’s hold on Patelunas isn’t the first time the Oregon Democrat has used the nominations process to try to pry loose financial documents.

The Treasury statement referenced documents provided to the Senate intelligence panel earlier this year, after Wyden had placed a hold on Sigal Mandelker when he was nominated to oversee FinCEN.

The Senate intelligence committee was seeking FinCEN data related to Trump and his top officials and campaign aides as it looked for connections to Russian banks and oligarchs.
Wyden lifted his hold after Treasury pledged to turn over those documents to the intelligence panel. Mandelker was confirmed in June as Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes.



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