Steve Mnuchin used a Goldman Sachs staffer to help manage the Treasury Department

Trump's Treasury is short on staffers. To fill it, they went to Goldman Sachs, the place they know best

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 24, 2017 9:19AM (EDT)

Steve Mnuchin (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Steve Mnuchin (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Donald Trump's Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has apparently used a Goldman Sachs banker to help manage the Treasury Department — even though he had not officially departed from Goldman Sachs itself yet.

On Friday, that banker withdrew his name from the Senate confirmation hearing to become Mnuchin's deputy, citing family matters.

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Jim Donovan was helping Mnuchin recruit personnel for senior positions in the Treasury Department as well as assist in other matters regarding managing the department, according to a report by Bloomberg. Mnuchin is, in general, struggling with staffing a department that is expected to help pass an ambitious economic agenda, including reforming the tax code, implementing major financial deregulation and altering established policy for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

To deal with this, Mnuchin has resorted to hiring people as "counselors" so that they won't have to be confirmed by the Senate.

The counselors hired by Mnuchin so far include Shannon McGahn (White House counsel Don McGahn's wife), who deals with legislative and public affairs; Dan Kowalski, who focuses on the budget, debt and infrastructure; Justin Muzinich, who is working on the tax reform plan and is an alumnus of Morgan Stanley; and Craig Phillips, a former executive of BlackRock Inc. who raised money for Hillary Clinton.

Although previous Treasury Secretaries like Henry Paulson (who served under President George W. Bush) and Jacob Lew (who served under President Barack Obama) have also hired counselors, they were at least partially motivated by the fact that the United States Senate was controlled by the opposition party at the time. This is not the case for Mnuchin, who faces a Senate that is controlled by President Trump's own Republican Party.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Goldman Sachs Jim Donovan Partner Video Steven Mnuchin