A line at the end of a Q&A session by Hollywood financier-turned-U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin has raised eyebrows at some ethics groups after he told attendees to go see The Lego Batman Movie. He happens to be an executive producer on Warner Bros’ animated hit via his role as a principal in RatPac-Dune Entertainment, a financier on the film.
At today’s event hosted by media company Axios, Mnuchin was asked about his Hollywood past. “Well, I’m not allowed to promote anything that I’m involved in. So I just want to have the legal disclosure that you’ve asked me the question and I am not promoting any product,” he said. “But you should send all your kids to Lego Batman. ”
The comments come after President Donald Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway took heat for promoting Ivanka Trump’s clothing line on Fox & Friends after Macy’s did not renew its contract with the First Daughter’s company.
After Mnuchin’s comment today, groups like the Center for Responsive Politics were quick to pounce:
— OpenSecrets.org (@OpenSecretsDC) March 24, 2017
The Treasury Department also was quick to respond to requests for comment, telling media outlets: “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.”
During his Senate confirmation hearings, Mnuchin pledged to divest his varied financial interests within 120 days of being OK’d for the Trump Administration cabinet post. That includes his part in RatPac-Dune and 41 other companies including AT&T, Comcast, iHeart Communications and Dune Capital Entertainment. He was confirmed by a vote along party lines.
According to Marketwatch, Mnuchin today also was asked about his favorite movie (Avatar), and he also called Wall Street-set pics The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short “misrepresentations.”