Skip To Content

Meet Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s Finance Maven and Treasury Secretary

Three weeks after his victory, President-elect Donald Trump has named many of his top advisers, drawing heavily from the small group of aides and admirers who surrounded him during his campaign. Steve Mnuchin, his pick to lead the Treasury Department, fits that bill, having served as the candidate’s finance chair and long entertained personal and business ties with the real estate billionaire. Here are five facts about the finance maven and future Cabinet officer.

1. Ex-Goldman Exec

Like incoming White House strategist Steve Bannon (and many Treasury Secretaries), Mnuchin is a Goldman Sachs alum, once working at the firm as a partner. His portfolio was in the mortgage-backed bonds that triggered the savings and loans crisis of the early 1990’s. Mnuchin has recently started his own hedge fund, Dune Capital Management, and at one point owned his own bank, OneWest.

2. A Member of a Secret Society

Attending Yale in the 1980’s, Mnuchin was a member of the elite Skull and Bones Society, a secret organization that has long been associated with wealth and privilege. Other members have included both Presidents Bush, current Secretary of State John Kerry and Time Magazine founder Henry Luce.

3. Bought His Own Bank

During the Great Recession, Mnuchin gathered a team of investors to purchase the IndyWest commercial bank, which was under-leveraged and threatened with collapse. He sold the enterprise off last year, following a rash of accusations that the bank foreclosed on properties in a highly aggressive manner.

4. Made Out in the Madoff Scam

Mnuchin’s mother Elaine Cooper invested millions of dollars with Ponzi scheme master Bernie Madoff. After she died in 2006, he and his siblings closed their account with Madoff, pocketing a hefty return on investment. After the scam to light, a trustee overseeing restitution for defrauded investors wanted Mnuchin and his siblings to return $3.2 million in false profit that was really money that other investors had put into the scheme. But they were able to keep the cash because they withdrew it in time — the trustee was only allowed to clawback monies taken out after a certain time.

5. He Used to Be a Film Producer

His hedge fund has provided support for movies including “American Sniper,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Avatar.” He served as the executive producer on the recent films “The Accountant” with Ben Affleck and “Sully” with Tom Hanks.

6. He’s in the ‘Third Wife Club’

Already the Trump administration is shaping up with its own ‘third wife club.’ President-elect Trump, incoming White House strategist Steve Bannon, potential Secretary of State Rudy Giuliani, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have all had three spouses.

Mnuchin is on the threshold of joining the club — he’s currently engaged to Louise Linton, who will be his third wife when the two are married. He is the father of three children.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at [email protected] or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.