The National Law Journal | April 23, 2018
By MP McQueen

Former hedge fund manager Justin Muzinich, now counselor to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the Trump administration’s pick for deputy secretary, reported receiving more than $17 million in vested stock options, capital gains income and company salary, according to a financial disclosure released by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Muzinich, described as an architect of the Trump administration’s tax reform plan, was formerly president of the New York-based investment firm Muzinich & Co. before being named counselor to Mnuchin in February 2017. President Donald Trump in April nominated Muzinich for second-in-command at the Treasury.

Muzinich’s financial disclosure, a mandatory filing for many high-level executive nominees, showed $11.9 million of Muzinich & Co. vested stock options, more than $5 million in capital gains and about $1.02 million in “wages, bonuses and filer’s share of company’s earnings.” The financial disclosure includes reportable income from 2017 up until March 2018, when the document was filed.

Muzinich & Co., according to the disclosure, “agreed to purchase a portion of my stock options for a fixed fee based on a third-party valuation. Sale is complete and payment has been made in full.” Muzinich said the remainder of his vested stock options in Muzinich & Co. were canceled. He said he did not hold any unvested stock options at the time of his resignation from the company.

Muzinich, 40, graduated from Yale Law School and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He had been an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School from 2014 to 2016. His father founded Muzinich & Co.

In an ethics pledge addressed to Elizabeth Horton, deputy assistant general counsel at the Treasury Department, Muzinich said he ”will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter in which I know that I have a financial interest directly and predictably affected by the matter, or in which I know that a person whose interests are imputed to me has a financial interest directly and predictably affected by the matter, unless I first obtain a written waiver” or “qualify for a regulatory exemption” pursuant to the relevant federal statute.

Sarah Bloom Raskin, formerly the deputy Treasury secretary from 2014 to 2017, is now a Rubenstein fellow at Duke University.

“It has been mystifying to me that they could go so long without a deputy at Treasury,” Raskin, a Harvard Law School graduate, told The New York Times this month. “It’s not an easy role to keep vacant. It seems to have taken Treasury off the field in several major policy battles.”

Muzinich’s nomination is pending at the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.