Seven House committee chairs have written to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking that he brief lawmakers on the administration's plans to lift sanctions on companies owned by Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch tied both to Vladimir Putin and Paul Manafort.
Members also are asking the administration to postpone any sanctions relief until it sufficiently can answer Congress' questions.
From the press release:
“The notification to Congress was delivered just prior to an adjournment for an extended recess and during which time a government shutdown ensued, which makes it difficult to complete our review of this matter within the 30-day period provided in CAATSA,” wrote the members. “We request that you be available for a meeting with all interested Members, in an appropriate setting to allow for a full discussion of all aspects of the agreement, the sanctions termination and the impact these decisions would have on the U.S. effort to end Russia’s malign activities aimed at our country.”
From the letter:
As the Chairs of committees with oversight jurisdiction over the U.S. response to Russia’s attempts to interfere in our elections and other hostile actions, we have a number of concerns about the agreement that the U.S. has reached with Mr. Deripaska.
The Terms of Removal focus on restructuring Mr. Deripaska’s relationship with EN+, Rusal, and ESE, the altered governance structure of EN+ and Rusal, and enhanced reporting requirements. However, the agreement appears to keep intact significant ownership of EN+ by Mr. Deripaska, while reportedly transferring some shares and financial interests to the Kremlin-linked sanctioned Russian bank VTB.
There are a number of additional questions that we and other Members of Congress must pursue in order to fully assess whether the U.S. agreement and the sanctions terminations are justified.
Further, we request that the Treasury Department delay the implementation of the sanctions termination to allow sufficient time for you to fully brief Members on this matter and to resolve the pending questions. We would appreciate fulfillment of this request by no later than the close of business on Friday, January 11, 2019.
Richard E. Neal
Ways and Means Committee
Financial Services Committee
Foreign Affairs Committee
Adam B. Schiff
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Elijah E. Cummings
Committee on Oversight and Reform
Committee on the Judiciary
Bennie G. Thompson
Committee on Homeland Security