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Steven Mnuchin
Steven Mnuchin official portrait.jpg
77th United States Secretary of the Treasury
Assumed office
February 13, 2017
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Jack Lew
Personal details
Born Steven Terner Mnuchin
(1962-12-21) December 21, 1962 (age 54)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Heather deForest Crosby
(1999–2014)
Louise Linton (engaged)
Relations Robert Mnuchin (Father)
Children 3
Education Yale University (BA)
Net worth $300 million[1]

Steven Terner Mnuchin (Listeni/məˈnɪn/ mə-NOO-chin;[2] born December 21, 1962) is an American banker, film producer, and former hedge fund manager who is the 77th and current United States Secretary of the Treasury under the Trump administration.

After he graduated from Yale University in 1985, Mnuchin worked for investment bank Goldman Sachs for 17 years, eventually becoming its Chief Information Officer. After he left Goldman Sachs in 2002, he worked for and founded several hedge funds. During the financial crisis of 2007–2008, Mnuchin bought failed residential lender IndyMac. He changed the name to OneWest Bank and rebuilt the bank, then sold it to CIT Group in 2015. Mnuchin joined Trump's presidential campaign in 2016, and was named national finance chairman for the campaign. On February 13, 2017, Mnuchin was confirmed to be President Trump's Secretary of the Treasury by a 53–47 vote in the U.S. Senate.[3]

Contents

Early life, family, and educationEdit

Steven Mnuchin was born on December 21, 1962, in New York City, as the second-youngest son of a Jewish family.[4][5][6] He is a son of Robert E. Mnuchin, of Washington, Connecticut, and Elaine Terner Cooper, of New York.[7] Robert Mnuchin was a partner at Goldman Sachs in charge of equity trading and a member of the management committee. He is also the founder of an art gallery in New York City, the Mnuchin Gallery.[7][8] Mnuchin's great-grandfather, Aaron Mnuchin, a Russian-born diamond dealer who later resided in Belgium, emigrated to the U.S. in 1916.[9]

Mnuchin attended Riverdale Country School in New York City. He graduated from Yale University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree.[4][10] At Yale, Mnuchin was publisher of the Yale Daily News,[11] and was also initiated into Skull and Bones in 1985.[12]

Mnuchin's first job was as a trainee at investment bank Salomon Brothers in the early 1980s, while still studying at Yale.[13]

When Mnuchin studied at Yale University, he lived in the former Taft Hotel in New Haven, Connecticut together with businessman Edward Lampert and lawyer Salem Chalabi as roommates.[14] In 1999, Mnuchin married Heather deForest Crosby,[7] who was his second wife,[15] and they had three children together.[16] Heather Mnuchin was active in philanthropy.[17] After he bought IndyMac, Mnuchin moved to a 21,000 square feet (2,000 m2), $26.5 million house in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, because the company's headquarters was situated in Pasadena.[4][16] Steven and Heather divorced in 2014, and he is now engaged to the actress Louise Linton.[15]

Finance and banking careerEdit

Goldman SachsEdit

After Mnuchin graduated from Yale in 1985, he started working for Goldman Sachs, where his father had worked since 1957.[4][18] Mnuchin started in the mortgage department, and became a partner at Goldman in 1994.[6][19] Until he left the company in 2002, Mnuchin held the following positions as a partner:[20][21]

  • November 1994 – December 1998: Head of the Mortgage Securities Department
  • December 1998 – November 1999: Overseeing mortgages, U.S. governments, money markets, and municipals at Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division
  • December 1999 – February 2001: Member of the Executive Committee and co-head of the Technology Operating Committee
  • February 2001 – December 2001: Executive Vice President and co-Chief Information Officer
  • December 2001 – 2002: Executive Vice President, member of the Management Committee, and Chief Information Officer[22]

Mnuchin left Goldman Sachs in 2002 after 17 years of employment, with an estimated $46 million of company stock and $12.6 million in compensation that he received in the months prior to his departure.[6]

Hedge fundsEdit

After he left Goldman Sachs in 2002, Mnuchin briefly worked as vice-chairman of hedge fund ESL Investments, which is owned by his Yale roommate Edward Lampert.[23] The following year, he established the company SFM Capital Management together with financier George Soros. Mnuchin founded a hedge fund called Dune Capital Management, named for a spot near his house in The Hamptons, in 2004 with two former Goldman partners.[4] After its founding, Mnuchin served as the CEO of the company.[24] The firm invested in at least two Donald Trump projects, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Honolulu and its namesake in Chicago. Dune Capital Management and other lenders to the skyscraper in Chicago were sued by Trump before a settlement was reached.[14][25]

Mnuchin was outbid by Lone Star Funds on a portfolio of residential mortgage-backed collateralized debt obligations being sold by Merrill Lynch during the financial crisis, which sold for $6.7 billion.[4]

Mnuchin has been criticized for his use of offshore entities for investment purposes as a hedge fund manager, which is a common practice in the industry. Mnuchin has stated “In no way did I use [offshore entities] to avoid U.S. taxes”.[26]

OneWestEdit

Purchase of IndyMac and other loan portfoliosEdit

In 2009, a group led by Mnuchin bought California-based residential lender IndyMac, which had been in receivership by the FDIC and owned $23.5 billion in commercial loans, mortgages, and mortgage-backed securities. The purchase price was a $4.7 billion discount to its book value.[27][4] Mnuchin's investment group included George Soros, hedge fund manager John Paulson, former Goldman Sachs executive J. Christopher Flowers, and Dell Computer founder Michael Dell.[4][28] The FDIC agreed to retain some of the more problematic assets of the bank, and signed a loss-sharing agreement. The FDIC was estimated to pay $2.4 billion to IndyMac under the shared loss agreement.[29] After purchasing IndyMac, renamed OneWest Bank, Mnuchin served as CEO and chairman.[28] OneWest then bought several other failed banks including First Federal Bank of California in 2009 and La Jolla Bank in 2010. Furthermore, OneWest bought a portfolio belonging to Citi Holdings for $1.4 billion.[4] OneWest was profitable one year after Mnuchin had bought it, and it became the largest bank of Southern California, with assets worth $27 billion.[14]

Sale to CITEdit

In 2015, Mnuchin sold OneWest to CIT Group for $3.4 billion.[25][14] After the acquisition by CIT, Mnuchin remained at OneWest, and became member of CIT Group's board of directors.[28] As of August 2016, Mnuchin owned $97 million in CIT Group stock, most of which he received in exchange for his stake in OneWest.[15] On December 2, 2016, Mnuchin resigned from the board of directors of CIT as a result of his selection as nominee for Secretary of the Treasury.[30]

Criticism for aggressive foreclosure practicesEdit

OneWest was criticized for aggressively foreclosing on homeowners. The high foreclosure rate may have been a result of the loss sharing agreement with the FDIC, whereby the FDIC had to reimburse OneWest for losses.[4] According to The New York Times, OneWest "was involved in a string of lawsuits over questionable foreclosures, and settled several cases for millions of dollars."[31] Because of another foreclosure, around 100 protesters of Occupy Los Angeles gathered outside Mnuchin's home in October 2011, and held signs, that read "Make Banks Pay."[14] Two California fair-housing groups filed complaints to the federal government alleging that OneWest violated the Fair Housing Act by not lending money to African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.[23][25][32]

In November 2016, after OneWest was sold to CIT, the California Reinvestment Coalition submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to learn more about CIT's reverse mortgage subsidiary, Financial Freedom.[32] According to the HUD's response, CIT/Financial Freedom foreclosed on 16,220 federally insured reverse mortgages from April 2009 to April 2016. This represents about 39% of all federally insured reverse mortgage foreclosures during that time. CRC estimated that Financial Freedom only serviced about 17% of the market and thus was foreclosing more than twice as often as its competitors.[33] CIT Group disclosed to investors that it had received subpoenas from HUD's Office of the Inspector General in the third and fourth quarters of 2015.[34] In November 2016, two nonprofits filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, alleging redlining by OneWest Bank.[35][36][37]

Motion pictures careerEdit

In 2004, he founded RatPac-Dune Entertainment as a side business, which was the financier of a number of notable films, including the X-Men film franchise and Avatar.[24][38][39]

In Hollywood, Mnuchin, along with film producer Brett Ratner and financier James Packer, working with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, produced American Sniper and Mad Max: Fury Road. Mnuchin was co-chairman of the trio's movie company, Relativity Media, but left seven months before it went bankrupt.[31] A source close to the company said that he had resigned because of the potential for a conflict of interest between his duties at Relativity and OneWest.[38] He and other investors reportedly lost $80 million. [40]

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Notes
2014 The Lego Movie Executive producer
Winter's Tale Executive producer
Edge of Tomorrow Executive producer
This Is Where I Leave You Executive producer
Annabelle Executive producer
Inherent Vice Executive producer
American Sniper Executive producer
2015 Run All Night Executive producer
Get Hard Executive producer
Mad Max: Fury Road Executive producer
Entourage Executive producer
Vacation Executive producer
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Executive producer
Black Mass Executive producer
The Intern Executive producer
Pan Executive producer
Our Brand Is Crisis Executive producer
In the Heart of the Sea Executive producer
2016 How to Be Single Executive producer
Midnight Special Executive producer
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Executive producer
Keanu Executive producer
The Conjuring 2 Executive producer
Central Intelligence Executive producer
The Legend of Tarzan Executive producer
Lights Out Executive producer
Suicide Squad Executive producer
Sully Executive producer
Storks Executive producer
The Accountant Executive producer
Rules Don't Apply Producer; also plays Merrill Lynch executive
Collateral Beauty Executive producer
2017 The Lego Batman Movie Executive producer
The Lego Ninjago Movie Executive producer
Going in Style Executive Producer

PoliticsEdit

DonationsEdit

Before joining the presidential campaign of Donald Trump in 2016, Mnuchin had been involved in politics only by donating money to campaigns.[41] Between the years of 1995 and 2014, he donated over $120,000 to political organizations, PACs, politicians, and political parties according to the Center for Responsive Politics. His contributions to candidates included 11 donations that went to Republicans and 36 donations that went to Democrats. The campaigns of Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney were among those to which he donated money.[42] Mnuchin said most of those donations were favors for friends.[14]

Between June and September of 2016, Mnuchin donated over $400,000 to the Republican Party, including donations to Paul Ryan and Donald Trump. Earlier in 2016, Mnuchin had donated $4,000 to Democrats Kamala Harris and Michael Wildes.[42]

2016 presidential campaign of Donald TrumpEdit

 
Mnuchin in 2016

Mnuchin was an early supporter of Trump, and attended his victory party after the New York Republican primary victory on April 19, 2016 after he had received a last-minute invitation.[25] He was called the following day by Trump, who asked him if he wanted to be the national finance chairman of his campaign.[14] Mnuchin, who later said in an interview he had known Trump "for over fifteen years," accepted the offer.[24][14] In a statement announcing the appointment, Trump said "Steven is a professional at the highest level with an extensive and very successful financial background." He also said Mnuchin would bring "unprecedented experience and expertise" that would benefit the Republican Party. After being appointed as the Trump campaign's main fundraiser, Mnuchin said "It’s a great privilege to be working with Mr. Trump to create a world class finance organization to support the campaign in the General Election."[43]

Mnuchin worked with Republican National Committee counterpart Lew Eisenberg on a late-developing joint operation for the committee and the Trump campaign. Before Mnuchin's appointment, no large-scale fundraising operation had been started for the Trump campaign. The late-summer fundraising goal was close to $500 million.[14] The New York Times described Mnuchin's role during the campaign as "relatively behind the scenes," and the newspaper noticed he never "seemed to seek the spotlight."[24] During an interview, Mnuchin said that because of his connection to the Trump campaign "a lot of people in California and New York [...] wanted to stop being friends."[44] After Trump won the election, he announced that Mnuchin would join the transition team on November 11.[45]

Political viewsEdit

In a November 30, 2016, interview on CNBC, Mnuchin called it the Trump administration's job to "make sure that the average American has wage increases and good jobs." Furthermore, he said his priority was getting a sustained growth of GDP of 3% or 4%. He said in order to get there "our number one priority is tax reform." Mnuchin said he would reduce corporate taxes to 15%, cut taxes for the middle class, and simplify the tax system. When asked about trade, he said he believed in trade deals with individual countries, as opposed to regional trade deals. Mnuchin said "this president [...] is going to have open communication with business leaders" when asked about keeping jobs from being offshored to Mexico.[46] During the interview, he also said he wants to "strip back parts of Dodd–Frank," because he argued it was too complicated, and it prevented banks from lending. He called the stripping back of Dodd–Frank "the number one priority on the regulatory side."[24]

Secretary of the TreasuryEdit

Nomination and confirmationEdit

 
Mnuchin being sworn in at the Oval Office.

On November 30, 2016, President-elect Trump announced on his website that he would nominate Mnuchin as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.[10] In the statement, Trump called Mnuchin a "world-class financier, banker and businessman," and he said Mnuchin played an important role in developing his "plan to build a dynamic, booming economy." Mnuchin himself said he was "honored to have the opportunity to serve our great country in this important role." He called Trump's economic agenda a "bold" one "that creates good-paying jobs and defends the American worker."[10]

On February 1, 2017, the Senate Finance Committee approved his nomination by a vote of 11-0 with all Democrats boycotting the vote, sending the nomination to the Senate floor.[47]

After the nomination was announced, Mnuchin resigned from his position on the board of trustees of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, to which he had donated between $100,000 and $250,000.[48][49] When the pick was announced, Mnuchin was also a member of the boards of UCLA Health System, the NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, and the Los Angeles Police Foundation.[10]

The New York Times noted that Mnuchin's selection "fits uneasily with much of Mr. Trump’s campaign attacks on the financial industry." For example, an ad of Trump's campaign said Goldman Sachs' CEO had "robbed [the] working class." Mnuchin will be the third Goldman alumnus to serve in the job, after Hank Paulson, under President George W. Bush; and Robert Rubin, under President Bill Clinton in the 2000s and 1990s, respectively.[25]

During his Senate confirmation hearing on January 19, 2017, Mnuchin was criticized by Democrats for OneWest's foreclose practices. Mnuchin said "Since I was first nominated to serve as Treasury secretary, I have been maligned as taking advantage of others' hardships in order to earn a buck. Nothing could be further from the truth".[50] During the hearing, it was also noted that Mnuchin had failed to disclose $95 million of real estate that he owned and his role as director of Dune Capital International, an investment fund in a tax haven. Mnuchin described the omissions as mistakes made amid a mountain of bureaucracy.[51]

Following Trump's January 2017 announcement about an investigation into voter registration, it was discovered that Mnuchin is registered to vote in both California and New York.[52]

On February 13, 2017, Mnuchin was confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury by a vote of 53–47.[53]

TenureEdit

At a March 18, 2017 meeting of G-20 country finance ministers, Mnuchin supported the Trump administration's trade policy of economic protectionism.[54][55]

Mnuchin, when asked in an interview with Mike Allen of Axios "whether he was worried about AI displacing jobs, replied: 'not at all...I think we are so far away from that' — 50 or 100 years — 'it’s not even on my radar screen'." Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers was among critics of the statement, likening it to climate denial and creationism.[56] Fortune columnist Alan Murray, noting the dispute, said he thought "the core of the misunderstanding is the term 'artificial intelligence'". While he felt Mnuchin expressed understanding of the role of technology in the labor market and also worried that the Secretary and President Donald Trump were both in their ways underestimating technology's impact, he thought the climate-denial charge was excessive.[57]

At the end of March 2017, regarding a statement he had made about the Lego Batman Movie, Mnuchin acknowledged in a letter to Walter Shaub at the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) that he "should not have made that statement" and assured the OGE that "it was not my intention to make a product endorsement."[58]

During an April 24, 2017, White House briefing, Mnuchin announced Department of Treasury sanctions against the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center. He said the sanctions were designed to create accountability for the Bashar al-Assad regime and its supporters in the wake of their violations of both U.N. Security Council resolutions and the Chemical Weapons Convention.[59]

While briefing reporters on April 26, 2017, Mnuchin said President Trump "has no intention" to release his tax returns, asserting the latter "has released plenty of information".[60]

Non-profit workEdit

Mnuchin served as a member of the development board of Yale University, as board member of the Riverdale Country School, as member of the national board and senior member of the non-profit youth organization Junior Achievement, to which he had donated money, and as a board member of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.[21][61]

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  39. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2016/11/30/trumps-treasury-pick-steven-mnuchin-is-behind-some-of-hollywoods-biggest-movies/
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  48. ^ "Many Thanks". The Museum of Contemporary Art. Retrieved December 11, 2016. 
  49. ^ Isidore, Chris (January 19, 2017). "Trump Treasury pick: 'I have been maligned'". CNN Money. 
  50. ^ Rappeport, Alan (January 19, 2017). "Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Nominee, Failed to Disclose $100 Million in Assets". The New York Times. 
  51. ^ Levy, Gabrielle (January 19, 2017). "Tiffany Trump, Steve Bannon, Steven Mnuchin Registered to Vote in Multiple States". US News and World Report. 
  52. ^ Rappeport, Alan (February 13, 2017). "Steven Mnuchin Is Confirmed as Treasury Secretary". The New York Times. 
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  55. ^ Summers, Lawrence H., "Larry Summers: The robots are coming, whether Trump’s Treasury secretary admits it or not", Washington Post Wonkblog Perspective, March 27, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
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  57. ^ Vitali, Ali, "Mnuchin: ‘Not My Intention’ to Promote Lego Batman Movie", NBC News, March 31, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
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  59. ^ "Mnuchin: Trump has 'no intention' of releasing returns". The Detriot News. April 26, 2017. 
  60. ^ "2001 • 2002 Financial Report". Junior Achievement. 2002. Retrieved December 10, 2016. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Lew
United States Secretary of the Treasury
2017–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
David Souter
as Senior Associate Justice
Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of the Treasury
Succeeded by
James Mattis
as Secretary of Defense
United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Rex Tillerson
as Secretary of State
5th in line
as Secretary of the Treasury
Succeeded by
James Mattis
as Secretary of Defense