Campaign for Accountability Files Complaint with DOJ Against Treasury Sec. Mnuchin for Making False Statements to Congress
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 2017
Image Credit: AP Images
Contact: Daniel Stevens, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate whether Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made criminal false statements by lying to Congress about conduct by OneWest, when Sec. Mnuchin was the bank’s CEO. In both written and oral testimony, Sec. Mnuchin denied OneWest engaged in robo-signing despite significant evidence to the contrary.
CfA Executive Director Daniel Stevens stated, “Sec. Mnuchin is trying to get away with offering Congress alternative facts about OneWest’s illegal actions harming thousands of American homeowners, but lying to Congress is a federal crime.”
Prior to his confirmation as Secretary of the Treasury, the Senate Finance Committee submitted questions to then-Sec. nominee Mnuchin, one of which was posed by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), asking specifically whether OneWest engaged in robo-signing under his watch. Sec. Mnuchin categorically denied that any robo-signing had occurred.
Then, last week, at a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, when questioned by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Sec. Mnuchin again denied the bank robo-signed documents, and derisively – and incorrectly – suggested the congressman did not understand the subject matter.
Earlier this year, a previously undisclosed memo prepared by prosecutors in the California Attorney General’s office revealed that OneWest had, among other things, engaged in robo-signing. The Columbus Dispatch also analyzed nearly four dozen foreclosure cases filed by OneWest in Franklin County, Ohio in 2010 and reported that OneWest frequently used robo-signers. In three cases, a judge dismissed OneWest foreclosure proceedings specifically based on inaccurate robo-signings.
Federal law makes it a crime to “knowingly and willfully . . . make any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” to Congress. It is also a crime to obstruct an inquiry of Congress by making of “a false or misleading statement.”
Mr. Stevens continued “By willfully and deliberately attempting to mislead Congress – and by extension the American people – about the unlawful conduct of OneWest under his leadership, Sec. Mnuchin appears to have violated federal law and he must be held accountable for his conduct.”
In January, CfA had filed a complaint with DOJ asking the department to follow up on the California Attorney General’s office investigation with its own inquiry to uncover whether OneWest’s improper foreclosures had violated any federal laws.
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.