A top Democrat said the State Department has sent thousands of pages of documents to Republican lawmakers for an investigation related to the Bidens while leaving requests from the other side of the aisle unfulfilled.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday, noting the dichotomy.
Wyden said the State Department provided Republicans leading an investigation into Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy firm that once employed Hunter Biden, more than 3,000 pages of documents in February and 1,000 more in April. But the agency has not been similarly responsive to requests from Democrats, the senator said.
“Although the requests made by the Republican Chairmen were not restricted by date, my staff’s review of these documents indicates that the State Department limited its response exclusively to documents from the Obama Administration and excluded any responsive documents generated during the Trump Administration,” Wyden wrote. “The State Department has also not produced any of the materials I requested in my February 11, 2020 letter.”
“It is wholly inappropriate for the State Department to dedicate its limited resources to voluntarily complying with Republican requests without also making a good faith effort to respond to Democratic requests,” he added in the letter.
Wyden noted that as the country has become embroiled in the coronavirus pandemic, some of the department’s operations have been limited, yet “despite the coronavirus’s ongoing disruption to State Department operations and everyday American life, the State Department has continued to voluntarily produce documents requested by the Republican Senate Committee Chairmen.”
The coronavirus pandemic has killed at least 73,000 people in the United States and infected more than 1.2 million, according to the latest tally by the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Businesses across the country have been shuttered, and the operations of both private and public institutions have been altered to respond to the health crisis.
Wyden accused Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, both Republicans, of using the investigation related to Biden to damage the political prospects of his father, Joe Biden, who is the presumptive Democratic nominee in the 2020 presidential contest.
Democrats accused President Trump of improperly pressuring Kyiv last year to announce investigations into the Bidens and others while leveraging nearly $400 million in military aid and a White House meeting. A whistleblower complaint that raised concerns about Trump pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate whether the elder Biden improperly used his position as vice president to pressure Ukraine to fire a top prosecutor to protect his son from an investigation into Burisma led to an impeachment investigation by the Democratic-controlled House.
The documents regarding Hunter Biden were first requested in November, during the impeachment saga. Wyden said more than 3,000 pages of documents were delivered by the State Department to Republicans after Trump was acquitted in February on two Ukraine-related articles of impeachment.
“All that said, nothing I have seen affects the conclusion that U.S. policy toward Ukraine — policy that Chairman Johnson wholeheartedly supported — did not change while Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma,” Wyden told Buzzfeed News.
The senator has also accused the Treasury Department of exhibiting a “double standard” by rapidly complying without little resistance to GOP requests.
In response to Grassley and Johnson requesting documents from the National Archives for their investigation into the Bidens’ activity in Ukraine, former President Barack Obama criticized the effort as giving credence to “Russian disinformation.”
Republicans have denied they are playing political games to sully the Bidens, but rather are conducting oversight on the Obama administration’s policy toward Ukraine.
“Glad to see Sen. Wyden agrees that despite Pres. Obama’s assertions, congressional review of federal agency records in the interest of government oversight is worth pursuing,” Taylor Foy, a spokesperson for Grassley, said in a statement to BuzzFeed. “There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, and every senator has an obligation to ask questions they deem important. That said, it is wrong to leak details of ongoing investigations, as Senate Democrats have done repeatedly.”
The Washington Examiner reached out to the State Department for comment.