Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is trying to fill a leadership vacuum in his department by increasingly recruiting financial industry executives for senior positions that come with a perk: a title that doesn’t require Senate confirmation.
Mnuchin has so far hired four people as top aides with the title “counselor,” including Craig Phillips, an ex-BlackRock Inc. executive and Hillary Clinton fundraiser. The Senate won’t vote on any of them, even though Mnuchin’s own party is in charge.
The hiring tactic is driven to some degree by necessity. The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Mnuchin wanted as his deputy, Jim Donovan, pulled out on Friday, shortly before his Senate confirmation hearing was to be scheduled. Donovan said his withdrawal stemmed from a family matter.
Between a personnel shortage at the Treasury and a political crisis at the White House, where a special prosecutor is investigating Russia’s meddling with U.S. elections, Mnuchin faces