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6 Things to Know About...Steven Mnuchin

By Joan Greve

Washington Week Fellow


President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise to not “let Wall Street get away with murder” may have suffered a setback this week. Goldman Sachs veteran and Hollywood investor Steven Mnuchin confirmed to CNBC Wednesday that Trump will nominate him as treasury secretary. Mnuchin has already that he would reconsider portions of the Dodd-Frank banking regulation act as treasury secretary, but he could face some hurdles in his Senate confirmation before he gets there.

Steven Mnuchin

1.    Mnuchin has deep ties to Wall Street, where he worked at Goldman Sachs for 17 years. He left banking in 2002 to focus on hedge funds, but returned in 2009 at the height of the housing crisis. Mnuchin and a handful of business partners paid $1.6 billion to buy IndyMac, a financial institution that was failing under the weight of “reckless home loans.” They later renamed the bank OneWest, and, after receiving a guarantee from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. that they would not have to pay most of their loan losses above a specific threshold, they were able to make it profitable. Mnuchin’s group sold the bank in 2015 for more than double what they had paid, but they were criticized for overseeing more than 36,000 home foreclosures. Protesters marched on the financier’s California residence in 2011, with one sign reading, “Steve Mnuchin, stop taking our homes.”

2.    Mnuchin has spent recent years investing in Hollywood. He has bought into a Dreamworks film library and the production of some 20th Century Fox films, including the box office record-setting Avatar.

3.    He joined the Trump campaign in April, when he became its national finance chairman. Despite his lack of any political experience, Mnuchin negotiated a deal with the Republican National Committee, by which the committee would do most of the work to fundraise for Trump but then be able to keep much of the money raised for the Republican nominee.

4.    Mnuchin will soon enter into his third marriage. He is engaged to the actress-producer Louise Linton, who captured negative headlines in July for a memoir about her time spent in Zambia as a teenager. The book, entitled In Congo’s Shadow, was described by the Washington Post as “the defining work of the White-Savior-in-Africa genre for the digital age.”

5.    The treasury secretary nominee attended his father’s alma mater Yale, where he became publisher of the Yale Daily News and a member of the elite secret society Skull and Bones.

6.    Mnuchin has previously donated to Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, but he has said that those contributions were largely favors to fundraising friends.   

Photo via CNN Newsource

See how Trump's administration is taking shape: 

Attorney General: Jeff Sessions
Chief strategist: Stephen Bannon
Chief of staff: Reince Priebus
National Security adviser: Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
CIA director: Mike Pompeo
Agriculture secretary:
Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross
Defense secretary: Gen. James Mattis
Education secretary: Betsy DeVos
Energy secretary:
Health and Human Services secretary: Tom Price
Homeland Security secretary: Gen. John Kelly
Housing and Urban Development secretary: Ben Carson
Secretary of state:
Interior secretary:
Treasury secretary: Steven Mnuchin
Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao
Veteran Affairs secretary:
EPA administrator: Scott Pruitt