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Steve Mnuchin Confirmed As Treasury Secretary In Party Line Senate Vote

Deadline logo Deadline 2/14/2017 David Lieberman
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The executive producer of The Lego Batman Movie, which made $55.6 million at the U.S. box offices this weekend, is about to become the nation’s Treasury Secretary.

The U.S. Senate just voted 53-to-47 along party lines to turn the Treasury Department over to Steve Mnuchin, a former Hollywood financier, Relativity Media board member, and Goldman Sachs partner. That means President Trump’s former campaign finance chairman will oversee the nation’s financial affairs including currency and tax collection.

Mnuchin will have to hit the ground running. Treasury faces a April 15 deadline to classify China as a currency manipulator, something Trump vowed during the campaign that he would do as president.

And one of Trump’s early executive orders gave the department until early June to recommend changes in Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which the president wants to scrap.

Mnuchin said in January that, if confirmed, he would divest interests in 42 companies including AT&T (which is seeking Justice Department approval for a deal to acquire Time Warner), Comcast, iHeart Communications, Dune Capital Entertainment, and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment, the film finance company run by James Packer and Brett Ratner that has a significant investment with Warner Bros.

Democrats opposed him, charging that he failed to inform the Senate Finance Committee of $100 million in assets; he said he had made a mistake. Challengers also attacked the practices of OneWest, a bank he ran from 2008 to 2015, which during the last recession aggressively foreclosed on homeowners who fell behind in their payments.

On Friday Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called OneWest a “foreclosure machine.”

Critics noted Mnuchin’s 17-year stint at Goldman Sachs, where he rose to the rank of Chief Information Officer. During last year’s election, Trump criticized Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for her ties to the investment bank.

Mnuchin is considering another Goldman stalwart, Jim Donovan, to be Deputy Treasury Secretary, according to multiple reports.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) lauded Mnuchin’s “impressive private-sector experience,” and urged confirmation “so he can begin to tackle these challenges and reverse the last eight years of economic heartache.”

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