The Real Deal Los Angeles

Confirmation recap: Steve Mnuchin defends offshore assets, explains key policy stances

Treasury sec appointee defends his foreclosure practices and offshore entities
January 19, 2017 02:15PM

Steven Mnuchin during his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing Thursday (Credit: Getty)

Steven Mnuchin defended his business strategies as CEO of Pasadena’s OneWest Bank at his confirmation hearing on Thursday, despite the antagonism of Senate Democrats. He also diverged from GOP standpoints on several key issues, such as his support of the post-crisis Volcker rule that bans banks from certain types of trading.

As anticipated, the Treasury secretary appointee defended his foreclosure practices, which comprised the bulk of the scathing criticisms against him.

““The responsibility landed on me to clean up the mess that we inherited,” Mnuchin said of his acquisition of IndyMac, which became OneWest.

Staff for Finance Committee Democrats circulated a memo that claims Mnuchin failed to name more than $100 million in personal assets and a stake in a Cayman Islands corporation, the Washington Post reported.

The former Goldman Sachs partner said he did not benefit from the offshore entities, and that he paid all the required taxes.

“I, like all other hedge funds and many, many private-equity funds, set up offshore entities that are primarily intended to accommodate nonprofits and pensions that want to invest through these offshore entities,” he said in the hearing.

Until the night before the hearing, his disclosure forms neglected to mention $110 million worth of real estate that include homes in New York City, Southampton, Los Angeles, and Mexico, the Post found.

While fending off critics, Mnuchin revealed several important policy stances — some to the dismay of those on his own side of the aisle. He supports the Volcker rule, for example, even when Trump and other Republicans want to repeal it.

He said he’d support raising the debt ceiling “sooner rather than later,” Politico reported — which goes against the GOP’s desire for budget cuts.

Mnuchin also underscored Trump’s consideration of a 21st century Glass-Steagall Act, which would restrict banks from making investments. He will not need any Democratic votes to secure the confirmation, but cannot lose more than two Republican votes. [WP] [Politico] — Cathaleen Chen