Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin got in trouble with ethics watchdogs last week when he recommended to a reporter that people should see The Lego Batman Movie. It wasn’t so much that people were upset because the animated flick didn’t live up to its first 20 minutes, but more because Mnuchin, as a public servant working in the federal government, is not supposed to use his position of power to promote a movie he executive-produced and stands to profit from. That, like Kellyanne Conway’s endorsement of Ivanka Trump’s fashion line, is a bit of a huge no-no around these parts.
According to Politico, Mnuchin told the Office of Government Ethics on Friday that he wasn’t planning on promoting the film. Mnuchin wrote:
“Although I included a disclaimer indicating that it was not my intention to promote any product, I ended my response to that light-hearted question with words that could reasonably have been interpreted to encourage the questioner to see a film with which I was associated. I should not have made that statement.”
Mnuchin’s initial statement to the media start-up Axios was made when he was asked about movies currently in theaters. The Treasury Secretary offered a long preamble about how he was “not allowed to promote anything that I’m involved in” but still ended his response by saying, “But you should send all your kids to Lego Batman.” So obviously he had no intention of asking the American people to put money in his pockets and probably doesn’t care one way or another if you see the next movie produced by the heavy-hitting Hollywood production and financing company he cofounded RatPac-Dune Entertainment.