A Democratic Senator is calling for an investigation into comments made by Hollywood-Executive-turned-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. In an interview last week, the senator appeared to jokingly ‘plug’ The Lego Batman Movie, which is one of his previous company’s films.
“I’m not allowed to promote anything that I’m involved in. So I just want to have the legal disclosure, you’ve asked me the question, and I am not promoting any product, but you should send all your kids to Lego Batman,” Said Mnuchin.
This comments probably left everyone laughing except Democratic senator Ron Wyden, who was furious that the Treasury secretary would dare make such remarks in this terrifying Trumpian climate of corruption.
He immediately went to the Office of government ethics, asking the Director Walter Shaub to launch an investigation into the comments.
“I am concerned that Sec. Mnuchin’s comments may be seen to have a predictable effect on the financial interests” of RatPac-Dune,” Wyden said in a letter to the OGE.
RatPac-Dune Entertainment Holdings LLC is Mnuchin’s former production company with filmmaker Brett Rattner and a handful of other media moguls. The studio has produced and financed a number of recent blockbusters, including The LEGO Movie, LEGO Batman, and Mad Max: Fury Road.
But Mnuchin divested himself of his share of RatPac Dune before taking up the mantle at Treasury, and signed an ethics agreement stating he would not actively promote any of RatPac’s products as a member of the Administration.
When asked about Wyden’s dire concerns about his joke, Mnuchin’s office released a statement, essentially saying that Ron Wyden needs to lighten up.
“As his statement reflects, the Secretary clearly recognized that he generally may not promote private interests and specifically gave the legal disclosure that he was not promoting a movie, but answering a question he was asked directly,” Mnuchin’s statement read.