President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team lambasted Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for allowing some Federal Reserve pandemic lending programs to expire, making it harder for the Biden Administration to implement similar programs. This is a disturbing reminder that the Trump administration has never been about “America First” — it’s been putting its own interests before America’s every step of the way. This is also a reminder that Steve Mnuchin is probably going to face some serious legal problems once he’s out of office.
You might remember that, before working as a Trump lackey, Mnuchin ran OneWest Bank. During his tenure at OneWest, the bank wasn’t exactly known for abiding by the law. The Intercept reported in early 2017 that it obtained a memo drafted by California state prosecutors written several years before alleging “OneWest rushed delinquent homeowners out of their homes by violating notice and waiting period statutes, illegally backdated key documents, and effectively gamed foreclosure auctions . . . the leaders of the state attorney general’s Consumer Law Section said they . . . identified over a thousand legal violations in the small subsection of OneWest loans they were able to examine . . .”
And that’s not even the best part. Those prosecutors recommended to the California Attorney General that she file a civil enforcement action against the bank. So who was the California AG at the time? Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris.
Harris underwent some scrutiny for not charging the bank, but that’s not what’s important here. What’s important is that Mnuchin is on the Biden Administration’s radar. Of course, Biden’s administration couldn’t go after Mnuchin itself, but having a president who isn’t actively on Mnuchin’s side (or has a vested interest in keeping Mnuchin on his side) is a big plus for prosecutors.
Recall that Mnuchin has repeatedly lied under oath. So while the OneWest Bank scandal might be behind him, his more recent crimes certainly are not. We can only hope that justice will be served.