Press Releases

Statement on Boycott of Votes on Mnuchin, Price by Senate Finance Democrats

January 31, 2017
Contact: Kurt Walters, 202-630-0299
[email protected]

Today, Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee walked out of a markup and vote on Steve Mnuchin’s nomination as Treasury Secretary and Tom Price’s nomination to be HHS Secretary, denying quorum.

The Democrats cited Mnuchin’s and Price’s false statements to the committee. Tactically, the move is similar to Senate Republicans in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee staging a boycott in 2013 over Gina McCarthy’s nomination to become EPA Administrator.

Previously last night, Senate Democrats objected to unanimous consent on the committee vote for Mnuchin’s markup, delaying the vote and earning praise from Demand Progress.

Demand Progress released the following statement, attributable to Campaign Director Kurt Walters:

“Senate Finance Democrats deserve commendation for denying quorum on the committee vote for Donald Trump’s outrageous choice of Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary.

“Lying to the Senate is unacceptable and disqualifying for any nominee. It is doubly so when that lie covers up his bank’s history of using unethical and illegal means to kick ordinary Americans out of their homes – while Mnuchin made a fortune.

“Beyond his disqualifying background as a foreclosure profiteer, Mnuchin has promised to join Donald Trump in violating Trump’s campaign pledge to get tough on Wall Street – pledging to instead attack reforms preventing Wall Street banks and other huge corporations from cheating ordinary people.

“Senate Democrats’ bold procedural moves last night and today are exactly the type of approach needed at this critical moment. They make it clear that at least one party is standing on the side of their constituents and working Americans, instead of kowtowing to Wall Street and Donald Trump. Republican senators concerned about their legacies – and re-election – would do well to follow suit.

A short video of committee member Sherrod Brown’s statement outside the hearing room is available here:

Statements on Twitter by Ranking Member Ron Wyden are available here:

Quorum rules for Senate committees are available in Table 2 of this Congressional Research Service document:

Since Mnuchin’s late November nomination as Trump’s presumptive Treasury Secretary pick, Demand Progress and its Rootstrikers project focused on Wall Street accountability have:

  • Organized more than 600,000 petition signatures against Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary and Trump’s entire “cabinet of hate and Wall Street greed.”
  • Organized their members and coalition partners to drive in more than 41,000 phone calls opposing Mnuchin’s Treasury nomination to Senate offices.
  • Partnered with Allied Progress Action and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee to launch a 6-figure television ad targeting both Democratic and Republican senators in Nevada, Arizona, Iowa, Virginia, Delaware, Colorado, Missouri, Florida, and DC urging senators to reject Mnuchin’s Treasury nomination and featuring Lisa Fraser, a widow whose house was foreclosed on by Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin’s bank, OneWest.

Additional background on Mnuchin:

  • Mnuchin made a fortune off the foreclosure crisis. He ran a bank called a “foreclosure machine” for foreclosing on well over 36,000 homes — and later sold it for $3.4 billion.
  • Mnuchin would run the Treasury Department to benefit Wall Street. He’s promised to attack the Dodd-Frank reforms reining in abuse by big banks, calling it is his “number one priority on the regulatory side.”
  • Mnuchin’s bank foreclosed on families using techniques so aggressive a federal judge called them “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive.”
  • A leaked state attorney general’s office memo revealed evidence of “widespread misconduct” by Mnuchin’s bank, OneWest, and thousands of illegal actions like forging documents.
  • Mnuchin is the ultimate Wall Street insider. He spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs, peddling the types of risky derivatives that caused the financial crisis, and left with $46 million. His father was a Goldman banker, too.
  • Until December 2016, Mnuchin sat on the board of CIT Group, a bank that’s been designated “too big to fail” and lost $2.3 billion in taxpayer bailout dollars. He earned $4.5 million a year there.
  • Another Mnuchin company, Relativity Media is apparently undergoing federal investigation. Mnuchin resigned as Co-Chair of Relativity Media under shady circumstances – cashing out with $50 million just two months before Relativity declared bankruptcy.
  • Mnuchin and his family pocketed $3.2 million from the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme and never returned a dime to victims of Madoff’s crimes.