Steve Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Treasury Department, drew fierce rebukes from Senate Democrats after it was revealed that he failed to disclose more than $100 million in assets before his Thursday confirmation hearing.
“I think as you all can appreciate, filling out these government forms is quite complicated,” Mnuchin, a Goldman Sachs alumnus and Trump campaign finance chief, told senators. “Let me first say, any oversight, it was unintentional.”
The undisclosed assets included homes in Los Angeles and the Hamptons, in addition to real estate holdings in Mexico. He also forgot to put down his role as head of Dune Capital International, a firm that is incorporated in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands.
Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, called Mnuchin typical of Trump’s nominees.
“Never before has the Senate considered such an ethically challenged (group),” the New York lawmaker said. “Mr. Mnuchin’s failure to disclose his Cayman Islands holdings just reeks of the swamp that the president-elect promised to drain on the campaign trail.”
Mnuchin’s nomination was already troubled, with him topping the list of Trump nominees Senate Democrats were hoping to scalp. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has referred to him as the “Forrest Gump” of the finance industry, due to his ties to Wall Street and ownership of the OneWest Bank, which has been cited for its hard-ball and potentially illicit home foreclosure practices.
According to transition team sources, Mnuchin has also tested the confidence of his boss’ staffers, coming across badly in preparation sessions for the confirmation hearings and getting flack for leaking his own nomination on cable prior to a formal announcement.
Mnuchin has tried to allay some concerns about his nomination by promising to divest from assets in companies that he would have a hand in regulating as Treasury Secretary, and has also pledged to step down from a number of corporate and charitable boards. That seems not to have quieted the storm surrounding his pick.
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.