“Secretary Mnuchin has been very much involved,” Mr. Lighthizer added. “He of course knows a great deal about that industry, a lot more than I do.”
Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said it was important to understand whether Mr. Mnuchin is living up to his ethics obligations, which require him to demonstrate that he has separated his financial earnings from his government job.
“Two years into his tenure, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin continues to raise concerns about potential conflicts of interest and compliance with his ethics agreement,” Mr. Wyden said ahead of Mr. Mnuchin’s hearing before the committee.
Mr. Mnuchin and Ms. Linton, who married in 2017, brought Hollywood glitz to Washington, but their ongoing links to the film industry have also brought complications.
After working for 17 years at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Mnuchin in the last decade became a big name in Hollywood as a film investor. His companies, Dune Entertainment and later RatPac-Dune, helped produce and finance dozens of films that were box office smashes in China, including “Avatar,” “Gravity,” “Dunkirk,” “Wonder Woman” and “Ready Player One.” Mr. Mnuchin was also a co-chairman of Relativity Media, a fledgling Hollywood studio that had a joint venture in China.
During his confirmation hearing in 2017, Mr. Mnuchin said that Relativity’s joint venture in China was “not particularly successful.” He said that he was not aware of direct Chinese investment in the business but that, in the future, Chinese investments in Hollywood may need to be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which the Treasury secretary chairs.
Mr. Mnuchin agreed to divest from dozens of investments in early 2017, after he was nominated by Mr. Trump. Later that year, he sent a letter of apology to the Office of Government Ethics after appearing to promote one of his movies when he said at an event: “Send all your kids to ‘Lego Batman.’ ”