After watching Steven Mnuchin defy history, his own decision-making, political reason and basic logic on his to being confirmed by the Senate to run the Treasury Department, Donald Trump apparently took a bite of overcooked meat and said to his advisors "That was fun, can we do that again?"
The Trump administration is considering naming a former OneWest Bank executive who was a lieutenant of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to run a federal banking watchdog, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that could spark renewed criticism from Democrats about the firm’s foreclosure practices.
Joseph Otting, who worked for Mr. Mnuchin at OneWest Bank, is being vetted for the job of Comptroller of the Currency, a regulator of federally chartered banks including units owned by large firms such as Citigroup Inc., these people said. Mr. Otting was CEO of OneWest Bank before being fired by its acquirer, CIT Group Inc., in 2015.
Being fired by John Thain is pretty cool, but the rest of Otting's origin tale is like extricating the most politically toxic elements of Mnuchin's tortured confirmation and making them the most salient aspects of another nominee. Based on what we know about him, replacing current Comptroller Thomas Curry with Otting seems like taking your troubled teen out of a high school where the principal is too strict only to let him be homeschooled by his stoner best friend, who everyone calls "Stinky Nuts."
Putting Otting before the Senate Finance Committee would trolling par excellence of Sherrod Brown, Claire McCaskill and Ron Wyden. It might even prompt a drop-in from Elizabeth Warren, if only to let her take a look at Otting before turning into CSPAN camera and staring incredulously like Jim from "The Office."
But it might also backfire a bit. Nevada Senator Dean Heller is a bedrock conservative that the Trump administration has been able to rely upon for every confirmation vote so far, but he wavered on Mnuchin in committee (or at least gave the appearance of wavering so as to sate the bloodlust of constituents in a state decimated by the mortgage crisis) and would likely be even harder (or have to look like he is) on the guy who actually ran OneWest during its foreclosure spree.
But beyond all that, the mere notion of a former bank CEO whose bank was notorious for doing the kind of thing that the OCC frowns upon is just too breathtaking to ignore. Replacing current Comptroller Thomas Curry with Otting seems like taking your troubled teen out of a high school where the principal is too strict only to let him be homeschooled by his stoner best friend, who everyone calls "Stinky Nuts."
It could be the reductio ad absurdum of the strange beauty that is Carl Icahn's the Trump Administration's plan to neuter government regulatory power from the inside out. But hey, it might never happen, because there is no ontological political truth anymore! Fun!