Sen. Kelly Ayotte wants details on a $400 million payment made to Iran, arguing the Obama administration hid the transaction from Congress.
The New Hampshire Republican sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew after The Wall Street Journal reported details of the payment and that some Justice Department officials had raised concerns.
“Contrary to the President’s assertions last week, the covert shipment of a $400 million cash ransom payment to Iran on the day Americans were released by Tehran was purposefully hid from members of Congress,” she said in a statement. “Equally disturbing, the administration used bulk foreign currency cash transfers to evade the effects of U.S. financial sanctions.”
Ayotte is the latest GOP lawmaker to question the administration on the details of the money, which was the first part of a $1.7 billion settlement to resolve a decades-old arms dispute. The administration announced the settlement in January.
But opponents of a separate Iran nuclear deal — including Ayotte — have seized on the fact that the payment was made in cash and coincided with the release of U.S. hostages from Iran to argue that it was a “ransom payment.”
Ayotte asked Lew what role the Treasury Department, or individuals affiliated with the department, played in the payment, including if officials traveled abroad or contacted foreign banks.