Taxpayers should know whether Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s foreign government interactions and travel to countries in the Middle East were influenced by his post-administration plans to launch an investment fund. CREW is suing the Treasury Department for records of the total cost of Mnuchin’s trips to countries in the Middle East and any communications between Mnuchin and Middle East sovereign wealth funds. This follows CREW’s Freedom of Information Act request for these records that received no response.
Mnuchin’s frequent trips to countries in the Middle East on the taxpayer’s dime already sparked national outrage. These trips included meetings with Saudi officials after the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and meetings solidifying the Trump administration’s backing of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in Yemen’s civil war. Concerns about Mnuchin’s extensive travels were heightened after reports indicated that Mnuchin had post-administration plans to start an investment fund that is expected to raise money from sovereign wealth funds in the Persian Gulf.
Mnuchin should not have made any official decisions based on how he could profit off of them after leaving office—if he did, he must be held accountable. For the public to understand the true nature of Mnuchin’s ties to countries in the Middle East, the full cost of Mnuchin’s travels must be released and communications revealed.