Speed Reads

senate confirmations

Steven Mnuchin defends his Cayman Island investment fund during Senate grilling

The Senate hearing for President-elect Donald Trump's treasury secretary nominee, Steven Mnuchin, took a deep dive into the question of whether Mnuchin simply forgot to list on his financial paperwork that he is the director of an investment fund based in the Cayman Islands, as he claims, or whether he was trying to cover up his involvement in tax loopholes, as some of his critics believe.

"The difference between investing in the United States or the Cayman Islands is the possibility of avoiding U.S. tax laws," Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said. "You've made it very clear that you paid your taxes … but the entities that you were helping or that you were making money from, you were helping them avoid U.S. taxes."

Mnuchin repeatedly defended his failure to list himself as the fund director in his initial disclosures by saying the forms are very complicated. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) defended Mnuchin, stepping in to say, "It is a bit ironic and a bit hypocritical that my friends on the other side of the aisle have suddenly found religion on offshore account holding. Evidently, memories are short: At least two of President Obama's nominees who now serve in his Cabinet had Cayman Island holdings."

Watch some of the grilling below. Jeva Lange