Senator Mitt Romney on Wednesday knocked a congressional investigation by his own Republican party into Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, calling it “not the legitimate role of government” to target political rivals.
Senator Ron Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, plans to issue a report before the presidential election on the committee’s probe of Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company that provided Hunter Biden a lucrative position on its board.
Romney said at a committee meeting Wednesday that the probe from the “outset had the earmarks of a political exercise.”
“Obviously, it is the province of campaigns and political parties’ opposition research, the media, to carry out political endeavors, to learn about or dust up one’s opponent. But it’s not the legitimate role of government or Congress, or for taxpayer expense to be used in an effort to damage political opponents,” the Utah Republican said.
Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma in 2014 after his father became vice president. In that role, court records suggested he earned at least $50,000 a month advising the energy company on “transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities,” according to Burisma. The younger Biden resigned from the board in April of last year.
The committee voted Wednesday to authorize subpoenas for several officials including former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr as part of the investigation.
A spokesman for Johnson, Ben Voelkel, responded to Romney’s remarks.
“This is Congress,” said Voelkel. “Everything here has implications for politics and elections. The Committee is expressly authorized to investigate conflicts of interest, and its investigation into Burisma and US-Ukraine policy began well before the Democratic nominee for President had been decided.”
Democrats have accused Johnson of conducting a political investigation, ranking member Gary Peters saying during Wednesday’s committee meeting that the probe has an “alarming partisan nature.”
“As I have stated repeatedly the public has a right to know, our investigation is focused on uncovering and revealing the truth but Democrats seem intent at every turn to frustrate and interfere with our oversight efforts,” Johnson said.