Donald Trump wasn't the only person to see opportunity in the 2008 housing collapse. As the economy recovered from the rubble of failed banks, foreclosed homes and government bailouts, Steven Mnuchin emerged a winner.That success is coming back to haunt the hedge fund manager and Hollywood producer who is Trump's choice for Treasury secretary. OneWest, a bank Mnuchin and his partners established during the collapse, has taken steady fire from regulators and consumer advocates for myriad failures ever since.
When Donald Trump and his team introduce a new cabinet pick, they're technically announcing a nomination: each of the president-elect's selections will need Senate confirmation before taking office. With a Republican-led Senate, that shouldn't be much of a problem.But after reading this new Politico piece on Trump's proposed Treasury Secretary, it's hard not to wonder how GOP senators are going to defend supporting Steven Mnuchin.
The article added, among other things, that Mnuchin foreclosed on a 90-year-old Florida woman "after a 27-cent payment error."The list keeps going:* Mnuchin "played hardball" with federal officials to profit from the 2008 global economic crash.* Two housing advocacy groups alleged to U.S. regulators that Mnuchin's OneWest Bank "broke federal laws by keeping branches out of minority neighborhoods and making few mortgages to black and Latino borrowers."* Mnuchin's OneWest Bank was also accused of squeezing Hurricane Sandy victims.* When public interest groups balked at Mnuchin's sale of OneWest, "a parade of community-based nonprofits stepped forward to testify" in support of the bank. Politico found that those same nonprofits "received tens of thousands of dollars each from the bank's foundation, which was run by Mnuchin."Under normal political circumstances, a president-elect's team would uncover these details during a review/vetting process and conclude there's simply no way Steven Mnuchin -- who has no governing experience or background in overseeing a large organization, and was only picked because he was a Trump fundraiser -- should be nominated for a cabinet post.Under normal political circumstances, if the vetting process missed these details, media reports like these would lead Mnuchin to quietly withdraw his name to avoid further embarrassment to himself and the president-elect.Under normal political circumstances, if Team Trump stood by Mnuchin, Senate Republicans would let the incoming White House know that such a nominee would face a tough, uphill fight during the confirmation hearings.But since normal political rules appear to be a thing of the past, it's entirely possible GOP senators will overlook all of this and confirm Steven Mnuchin anyway.