Treasury's Mnuchin admits he broke ethics rule in 'Lego Batman' promo

02 April, 2017, 01:10 | Author: Evan Mason
  • Steven Mnuchin

In a Friday letter addressed to the Office of Government Ethics, the independent agency tasked with monitoring conflicts of interest within the executive branch, Mnuchin says it was a mistake for him last week to jokingly urge parents to send their kids to see The Lego Batman Movie.

Asked then about his Hollywood output, Mnuchin said, "Well, I'm not allowed to promote anything that I'm involved in".

Mnuchin was an executive producer on the movie, which is a spinoff of 2014's The Lego Movie.

Mnuchin adds that he takes "very seriously my ethical responsibilities as a Presidential appointee and the head of the Department of the Treasury".

At the end of the question-and-answer session on March 24, Mnuchin was asked to name a movie people should see. "So I just want to have the legal disclosure, you've asked me the question, and I am not promoting any product", he said.

In an interview last week, Mnuchin plugged his "Lego Batman" movie with a wink.

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Mnuchin wrote that the question was "light-hearted" and "could reasonably have been interpreted" to be a reference to "a film with which I was associated", which doesn't excuse the fact that he used the opportunity to unethically promote a film from which he will profit.

A spokeswoman from the Office of Government Ethics declined to comment.

A week later, Mnuchin has sent a letter to the Office of Government Ethics admitting that he "should not have made that statement", which constituted the use of public office to promote a product.

Shaub did express frustration that the White House didn't take stronger action against Trump aide Kellyanne Conway in February after she plugged Ivanka Trump's fashion brand on Fox News.

The letter addressed comments made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin where he appeared to endorse the Lego Batman movie.

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