Mnuchin Courts Goldman Advisers to Oversee $200 Billion Bailout

U.S Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is seeking to tap executives from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other Wall Street firms to help oversee more than $200 billion in bailout packages that the Trump administration is proposing to ease the economic damage of the coronavirus outbreak, people familiar with the matter said.

Mnuchin’s team is considering executives with broad experience to help administer loans to airlines, hotels and other industries suffering as the virus shuts down parts of the economy, the people said. The government is also considering taking equity stakes in some companies in exchange for aid, a program that financiers and bankers could administer.

Spokesmen for the Treasury didn’t reply to a request for comment. Goldman declined to comment.

The White House and Democrats are negotiating with Senate Republicans over a GOP draft stimulus bill that would create the bailout program. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he’d like to hold a vote on Monday.

During the last global financial crisis more than a decade ago, Treasury secretaries Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner brought in additional staff, including prominent Wall Street figures, to help manage the bailouts of U.S. banks and auto companies.

Fed Expertise

Mnuchin is also looking for expert guidance as the Treasury Department works closely with the Federal Reserve. Mnuchin this week authorized the Fed to launch four separate emergency lending programs to keep cash flowing into the U.S. economy.

The Fed is expected to launch more crisis-level programs that will require authorization and help from the Treasury Department, which would have to group individual companies in travel-related industries together to make them eligible for Fed assistance. President Donald Trump has already singled out Boeing Co. as needing government assistance in some form.

Mnuchin’s Treasury Department is short-staffed. It has more than half a dozen vacancies in its senior political ranks. The domestic finance department, which oversees the $16 trillion Treasuries market amd the Financial Stability Oversight Board, has no undersecretary.

Deputy Secretary Justin Muzinich has been overseeing the unit since June when Craig Phillips departed as a counselor. Muzinich is also serving as acting undersecretary of the Treasury’s sanctions unit.

— With assistance by Jennifer Jacobs

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