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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, December 1, 2016

Mnuchin nomination spurs strong reaction from Congressional Democrats, activist groups

By Colleen M. Svelnis, J.D.

President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary has stirred criticism from Congressional Democrats, trade associations, and activist groups. Most criticism focused on Trump’s campaign promises to reform the power in Washington and Mnuchin’s Wall Street background. If confirmed, Mnuchin will be heavily involved in implementing administration plans for economic growth (see Banking and Finance Law DailyNov. 30, 2016).

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, issued a statement calling out Trump for choosing Mnuchin, a hedge-fund manager, whose Wall Street ties "couldn’t run deeper" to lead the Treasury Department.

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) released a joint statement on the nomination, calling Mnuchin "just another Wall Street insider" and the nomination "hypocrisy at its worst." According to the statement, "After his bank pocketed billions in taxpayer dollars from the bailout, Mnuchin moved on to make a fortune running another bank that aggressively foreclosed on families still reeling from the crisis."

Public Citizen also commented on the nomination by Trump, stating "say goodbye to the candidate who promised to fix a rigged economic and political system. And say hello to the incoming president intent on turning over the machinery of government to the corporate elite against whom he railed just a few short months ago." According to the statement, if confirmed, Mnuchin would "continue the tradition of former Goldman Sachs executives exercising a vice grip over economic policymaking in the United States."

Better Markets Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO stated that Mnuchin "was a pioneer in fixed income, currencies and commodities trading at Goldman Sachs." Kelleher also stressed that "eliminating the Volcker Rule and the other financial reform rules that Mr. Mnuchin is talking about will bring back Wall Street’s Wild West gambling that caused the 2008 financial crash and economic calamity."

Rootstrikers, a Demand Progress activist group seeking Wall Street accountability, also issued a statement on the nomination. "Trump’s promises to make the economy work for ordinary Americans were nothing but a lie to grab power for himself and his cronies," stated campaign director Kurt Walters.

Companies: Better Markets; Demand Progress; Goldman Sachs; Public Citizen; Rootstrikers

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