Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) on Tuesday asked Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for more information related to a report in The New York Times alleging that Mnuchin personally intervened to provide the financier Michael Milken with tax breaks through the federal “opportunity zone” program meant to direct investment to distressed neighborhoods.
In a letter to Mnuchin, Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he was writing regarding “alleged rampant corruption” at the Treasury Department and questioned how Mnuchin sees his role:
“[D]o you see your job as protecting the interests of the entirety of the American people or a handful of plutocrats and personal friends? Do you think it is appropriate for the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States to seek special favors for one of the most prolific financial criminals in world history?”
“It should go without saying that the United States government is not a piggy bank to be looted for the sole benefit of the President and his friends. Yet this is not only what is occurring in your department, but it is happening at your direct supervision. Please provide answers to my questions immediately.”
A Treasury spokesperson said the Times story is “highly inaccurate and deeply misleading,” according to The Hill, and Mnuchin denies having knowledge of Milken's investments in the opportunity zone in question.
Milken has also rejected the Times story, saying he "played no role in any recommendations to any government officials regarding changes in opportunity zone regulations."