Senate Democrats are asking members of the public for complaints about Donald Trump’s choice to lead the U.S. Treasury, in a move that reveals how much they plan to focus on his involvement with a failed subprime mortgage lender.
Democrats set up a web site on Friday regarding Steven Mnuchin and California-headquartered OneWest Bank, formerly known as IndyMac. Mnuchin and other investors bought IndyMac in 2009. CIT Group Inc. CIT, +2.05% bought it in 2015.
Mnuchin’s involvement with OneWest has already come under fire. Even before Trump formally tapped Mnuchin for the Treasury job, the California Reinvestment Coalition, an advocacy group, was blasting his expected selection and said the bank has foreclosed on more than 36,000 families in California alone. The group said it expected families “who lost their homes at the hands of OneWest” will want to share their experiences with lawmakers.
Now Democrats are asking for just that. The site asks Americans “to share their personal stories of being impacted by the ‘Foreclosure King’ Steve Mnuchin.” It was announced by Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Mnuchin has defended the IndyMac deal, as has Trump himself.
Trump nominated Mnuchin on Nov. 30, and his selection won praise from Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who heads the Senate Finance Committee. The panel will hold a confirmation for Mnuchin, whose nomination would also need to be approved by the full Senate.
Next year, Republicans will control the Senate with 52 seats to Democrats’ 48. Mnuchin’s confirmation is assured if all Republicans vote yes. Confirmation requires a simple majority.
But the former Goldman Sachs GS, +1.87% banker and film producer can expect blistering criticism from the minority party.
“This man has engaged in the worst kinds of practices on Wall Street and directly hurt thousands of working families,” said Warren. “And now, Donald Trump wants to literally hand him the keys to the Treasury where he can make big banks even richer at the expense of America’s families.”