Today, at a hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin entitled “The Annual Report of the Financial Stability Oversight Council,” Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, gave the following opening statement:
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and welcome back, Secretary Mnuchin.
I am looking forward to your testimony today on the annual report of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC).
I am very concerned that the Trump Administration seems to be determined to remove all non-bank systemically important financial institutions from FSOC supervision, regardless of what threats those institutions may pose to our economy. As we all know, one such financial institution, AIG, nearly brought down the economy in 2008 and had to be bailed out to the tune of $182 billion. FSOC plays a key role in ensuring the continuing stability of the United States economy, and it must not be weakened or sidelined from dealing with threats posed by risky financial institutions.
In addition to testimony on FSOC, it is also important today that the Secretary address several outstanding inquiries on vital matters with national security implications.
Mr. Chairman, as a general matter, Secretary Mnuchin’s handling of inquiries from Committee Democrats has been completely unacceptable. As you know, serious questions have been raised about the finances of President Trump, his family members and his associates, and their involvement with Russian government officials and oligarchs. As the Ranking Member of the Committee with jurisdiction over the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), I and other Democrats on the Committee have requested information from the Secretary on these matters several times.
At the Secretary’s last appearance before this Committee, I asked about a letter that we had written to him regarding President Trump’s financial ties to Russia, as well as those of his family members and associates. Secretary Mnuchin did not answer the letter and he was not forthcoming in his testimony.
Since then, we have sent the Secretary two additional follow-up letters pertaining to the finances of President Trump, his family members and his associates, as well as his own handling of law enforcement and regulatory matters that may involve those individuals.
The reply that my Democratic colleagues and I received from Secretary Mnuchin’s staff just a few days ago did not provide answers to our inquiries and instead encouraged us to get the information we requested from other Committees with which the Treasury has provided documents. Despite the fact that the Financial Services Committee has clear jurisdiction over these matters, the Secretary seems to think that referring us to other Committees is a satisfactory answer to our questions. It is not.
Relatedly, I am also very concerned about the Trump Administration’s inaction on the sanctions passed with broad bipartisan support by Congress in 2017 to punish Russia for interfering in our democracy. The Trump Administration has now missed several deadlines related to those sanctions, which is unacceptable. Trump’s inaction in this area serves to advance the interests of Putin, the Kremlin and Russian oligarchs to the detriment of the American people. My January 31 letter to Secretary Mnuchin and Secretary Tillerson on this matter has gone unanswered as of yet.
Since Secretary Mnuchin is here today, it is my sincere hope that he will provide answers to the questions we have on all of these matters.
With that, I yield back the remainder of my time.