Steven Mnuchin who was President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign national finance chair, is expected to be his pick for head of the Department of Treasure.
Mnuchin, with deep roots on Wall Street and in Hollywood and no government experience, would play an important role in shaping the administration’s economic policies as Treasure Secretary, including a package of promised tax cuts, increased spending on infrastructure and changes in the terms of foreign trade. He could also be instrumental in efforts to roll back President Obama’s overtures to Cuba, and the nuclear deal with Iran by reimposing sanctions on both of those nations.
The Department of Treasury has expansive responsibility over business and oversees banking regulations, financial markets and the IRS. It has about 100,000 employees, with about 90 percent of them in the Internal Revenue Service. The department is also responsible for paying the government’s bills, collecting taxes, managing the federal government debt and selling billions of dollars a year in Treasury bonds.
Trump made railing against Wall Street a cornerstone of his campaign, accusing his opponent, Hillary Clinton, of being in their pocket. With Mnuchin, he seems to be going against his campaign rhetoric. In fact, in his final campaign ad which was billed as his so-called ‘closing argument,’ Trump portrayed the chief executive of Goldman Sachs as the personification of global elite that had “robbed our working class.”
The 53 year old banker started his career at Goldman Sachs for 17 years where he became a partner. Shortly, after leaving Goldman Sachs, he worked as a portfolio manager for George Soros’ hedge fund. Soros is the billionaire financier who has bankrolled liberal candidates and causes — and who is one of the key liberal villains to many Trump supporters.
After a year working for Soros, he created his own hedge fund, Dune Capital, and entered the top ranks of movie financiers by bankrolling such Hollywood hits as the “X-Men” franchise and “Avatar. His latest film, opening before this Thanksgiving, is called “Rules Don’t Apply.”
Notably, in 2009, he was part of a group that bought the failed California mortgage lender IndyMac from the government. he became chairman of the company, renaming it OneWest, and ultimately selling it to CIT, the nation’s largest small business lender, in 2015 for more than twice the price that the group had paid originally.
During his time at OneWest, the company faced allegations that it had foreclosed improperly on some borrowers. Fair housing groups also filed a complaint with the federal government alleging that the bank was not meeting its legal obligation to make loans in minority neighborhoods.
Mnuchin has contributed to both Republican and Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaigns and her 2008 presidential run.