Top Banking Dem asks Mnuchin to explain how career influences policy

Top Banking Dem asks Mnuchin to explain how career influences policy
© Greg Nash

The ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee wants President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE’s selection for Treasury secretary to explain how his career as a hedge fund partner and bank executive influences his policy views.

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell Brown2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Sen. Casey says he won't run for president in 2020 The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Day 27 of the shutdown | Cohen reportedly paid company to rig online polls, boost his own image | Atlantic publishes ‘Impeach Donald Trump’ cover story MORE (Ohio) asked Steven Mnunchin in a letter Wednesday how his business history and connections would affect how he’d oversee the United States banking and financial sector.

“Working people need a Treasury Secretary who will work for them, not Wall Street," Brown said in a statement. “The American public deserves to know where Mr. Mnuchin stands on the important housing and finance issues that he will oversee. While he made a fortune from the financial crisis, far too many Ohioans have yet to recover from it.”

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Brown laid out a series of questions intended clear up Mnuchin’s views on banking, housing and urban affairs — the full jurisdiction of Brown’s committee. He keyed in on areas of Mnuchin’s past consistently attacked by Democrats, including the 36,000 foreclosures he oversaw as an executive at OneWest regional bank.

“A Treasury Secretary is expected to be an expert in financial market operations and regulation, in addition to industrial and international trade policy, terrorist financing and sanctions, and tax and fiscal policy,” wrote Brown. “I am currently unaware of your views and record on a host of these issues.”

Mnuchin — a former Goldman Sachs partner, regional bank executive and movie producer — has no experience in government. Cabinet nominees often avoid media appearances until they’re confirmed, and Mnuchin has kept a relatively low profile since Trump tapped him to lead Treasury late last month.

Mnuchin said in interviews soon after his selection that he’s interested in rolling back parts of Dodd-Frank and getting government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of the housing market.

Brown asked Mnuchin to elaborate on those stances, and how “your past business — and presumably social — connections to hedge fund partners who invested in preferred shares” of Fannie and Freddie would impact his policy priorities.

He also asked for assurances that Mnuchin wouldn’t use his Treasury secretary post to benefit current or former business partners, or to hurt their competition.