New Senator from California can't explain why she didn't prosecute Trump's Treasury pick when she was AG

Kamala Harris was just sworn in as a senator from California, but her last gig was as California's Attorney General, and in that role, she decided not to prosecute Trump Treasury Secretary pick Steve Mnuchin, whom her office had identified as presiding over "widespread misconduct" in foreclosing on Californians -- that is, stealing their houses.

Harris's campaign received large donations from Mnuchin and from shareholders in Onewest, the crooked bank that Mnuchin ran.

After a leaked memo from Harris's office showed that her staff believed there was "widespread misconduct," The Hill asked Harris why she didn't take action. She had no explanation, apart from, "It’s a decision my office made" and "We pursued it just like any other case. We go and we take a case wherever the facts lead us."

Mnuchin's bank ordered its contractors not to comply with California subpoenas about its foreclosure mills.

Note that Harris is a Democrat.

Three groups — the Rootstrikers project at Demand Progress, the Center for Popular Democracy’s Fed Up Campaign, and the California Reinvestment Coalition – have called for a delay of Mnuchin’s confirmation hearing until he publicly discloses all settlements and lawsuits OneWest has faced from its foreclosure-related activities, responds fully to all questions submitted by members of the Senate Finance Committee, and publicly discloses his role in obstructing the California attorney general investigation, or any others.

The California Reinvestment Coalition followed that up on Thursday by asking OneWest to release the obstructed evidence, which involved loan files held by a third party then known as Lender Processing Services (it’s now called Black Knight Financial Services). “That’s something the Senate Finance Committee should ask him for, prior to scheduling their hearing with him,” said Paulina Gonzalez, executive director of the California Reinvestment Coalition.

Kamala Harris Fails to Explain Why She Didn’t Prosecute Steven Mnuchin’s Bank [David Dayen/The Intercept]

(Image: Kamala Harris, Zennie Abraham, CC-BY-ND)

Notable Replies

  1. Easy, she was either bought off or pressured not to do it cause reasons.

  2. "We pursued it just like any other case."

    The fuck you did!

  3. A Democrat?

    In bed with the banks?

    Impossible. Why, I have divested myself of all money and now live as a member of a bartering collective. I thought we all did?

  4. As far as I can tell there are a lot of charges of not prosecuting banks from cases that have floated across Frances Grunder's desk specifically (there are accusations the office declined to investigate WF too, and the unverified emails involved were to Frances Grunder as well). In the interest of being as fair as possible (and playing a bit of devil's advocate) the first Intercept article is 100% accurate and fair - the AG office declined to prosecute with no public explanation why, this leaked memo shows that it was heavily recommended to go after OneWest for a seemingly slam-dunk case (signing documents for foreclosure before they were an operational bank). This one is a bit sensational, placing the blame entirely on Harris when it really was a inner office dispute. I say this despite subscribing to the quarterback theory of blame assignment, and she really should be open with what happened even if it takes her some time to put together something accurate. Her voting record will be clear pretty damn quickly under Trump's agenda, I hope this can keep her congressional office cleaner.

    As for Mnuchin's defense, I can't find anything to back up his spokesperson's defense that they were compliant with OCC or that OCC has anything to do with fraudulent foreclosure investigations. I think his silence on the memo, and the ad hoc ad hom dismissal of the memo from his spokesperson is what needs a lot of pressure on it now. You can't undo the election that Harris won, but you sure as shit can try and stop Mnuchin now.

  5. People like Mnuchin and corporations like OneWest don't donate large amounts to politicians in both parties because they want their cases pursued like any other.

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