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Mnuchin joins speech circuit at $250K for live talk

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attends a press conference in 2017.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attends a press conference in 2017.

Steven Mnuchin has joined the likes of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Bono, Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama, offering himself for speaking engagements for tens of thousands of dollars in fees.

Mnuchin, who was Donald Trump’s Treasury secretary, has hired the Harry Walker Agency to manage such engagements. Mnuchin said he would charge about $250,000 to speak in person. An advertisement obtained by Bloomberg News noted a $75,000 fee for a virtual address, although Mnuchin said that figure could be closer to $100,000.

Harry Walker’s website asks clients to inquire about fees. Mnuchin’s profile at the site identifies him as a philanthropist — after his other careers.

“As someone who was critical in helping pass economic policy, he is often sought out to speak about where our fiscal and economic policies are headed, given the current climate,” his profile reads.

Signing up with a speaker’s bureau has become standard practice for high-level officials after they leave government. And the arrangements can be quite lucrative, especially for those who worked at the Treasury or U.S. Federal Reserve. The new Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, reported earning more than $7 million in speaking fees over two years from large corporations, hedge funds and Wall Street banks on her recent financial disclosure form.

Mnuchin, a former film producer and financier, was one of the wealthiest Treasury secretaries in modern history, with assets estimated to be more than $300 million. He has not yet announced what his next career move would be, although Mnuchin said he doesn’t expect to give too many speeches.

Cabinet secretaries are often hired as a draw at conferences that banks put on for their clients, such as sovereign wealth funds and other large investors who seek a combination of market insight and behind-the-scenes anecdotes about how policy is made. Large corporate trade associations also often feature ex-government officials at their conferences. Lodging and meals in the often-sunny locales, as well as first class airfare, are usually part of the package.

Obama’s first Treasury chief, Timothy Geithner, was paid in the $150,000 to $200,000 range for speeches after he left government, according to a former agency official.

The payments are often adjusted higher if the speech is held overseas or in another far-away destination.

Mnuchin confirmed he’s joined Harry Walker but said he does not expect to go on a speaking tour.

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