Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Thursday called on Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to explain his financial involvement with Sears before joining the Trump administration.
“Mr. Mnuchin is President Trump’s Treasury secretary, and he is a walking example of what happens when rich and powerful people put other rich and powerful people into power,” said Ocasio-Cortez in a video posted to Twitter.
Mnuchin previously served on Sears’ board of directors before the retailer declared bankruptcy, and was named in a lawsuit brought against former CEO Eddie Lampert—who was the Treasury Secretary’s roommate at Yale University. Last month, Sears’ restructuring team sued Lambert and his hedge fund ESL Investments, alleging the former CEO “looted” billions of dollars from the company amid massive layoffs.
In a letter sent to Mnuchin, both lawmakers write that they are “deeply concerned by the financial engineering and potentially illegal activity” that occurred at Sears while the Treasury Secretary served on the company’s board. The letter contains questions for Mnuchin to answer regarding his involvement at Sears at the time, including how he responded to Lampert’s decision to fire employees, close the business and buy back stock.
“Lampert even sold Sears real estate to himself and then rented that real estate back to Sears at prices he helped set,” said Warren on Twitter.
Both lawmakers have teamed up on a series of video collaborations. Earlier this week, Warren and Ocasio-Cortez made a video lamenting the Game of Thrones finale, in which the Massachusetts senator walked back her past support for Daenerys Targaryen after the fictional character laid waste to an entire city.
Ocasio-Cortez has also worked with another presidential hopeful, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), on a bill to curb predatory credit lending.