Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is reportedly planning to hire longtime Fox News commentator Monica Crowley as the department’s top spokeswoman, strengthening the connection between the television network and the White House.
Crowley would replace Tony Sayegh as the department’s assistant secretary for public affairs, Bloomberg first reported on Tuesday. Sayegh is expected to leave the Treasury Department in May after more than two years of working for Mnuchin and was also a Fox News alum.
A Treasury spokeswoman did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Crowley also used to be a lobbyist for Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk. She registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department in March 2017 to work with Doug Schoen, a Democratic political consultant who represented Pinchuk. Documents filed by Schoen show Crowley cut ties with the Ukrainian tycoon in February 2018.
President Donald Trump at the beginning of his presidency originally tapped Crowley, a GOP foreign policy adviser at the time, to serve under retired Gen. Michael Flynn as senior director of strategic communications at the National Security Council. But on Jan. 16, 2017, she gave up the position after becoming embroiled in a plagiarism scandal.
CNN reported that same month that Crowley’s 2012 book, “What the (Bleep) Just Happened,” had boosted dozens of passages from Wikipedia news stories without giving credit. Politico reported that Crowley took others’ writing for her 2000 dissertation at Columbia University. Her publisher, HarperCollins, eventually pulled the digital edition of the book in light of the allegations.
Trump’s team at the time told CNN that “any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.”
Another addition of a veteran Fox News contributor highlights the Trump administration’s pattern of consistently hiring employees from the conservative network. The president has long been a fan of the network and frequently tweets about its programming. Fox News told the New York Times that Crowley has not been formally affiliated with the network since 2016.
Trump will ultimately decide whether to hire Crowley for the Treasury position, which does not require Senate confirmation.
Mnuchin is gearing up to face Congress after House Democrats formally requested six years of Trump’s tax returns. Mnuchin, who also oversees the Internal Revenue Service, has so far refused to turn over the returns but told the House that the Treasury would seek a legal opinion from the Justice Department. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said Saturday that the IRS has until April 23 before he considers taking further legal options.