Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin may be new to government, but he's learning quickly that it's not a good idea to make a joke that could run afoul of government ethics rules.
In a letter Friday to the head of the Office of Government Ethics, Mnuchin said it was a mistake for him last week to jokingly urge parents to send their kids to see "The Lego Batman Movie." Mnuchin was an executive producer of the top-grossing movie, which is still in theaters.
Mnuchin said his comment, which came at the end of an hour-long public interview sponsored by the news site Axios, was meant as a joke in response to a light-hearted question about what current movies he would recommend.
A spokesman for the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington told NBC News the letter was "the kind of thing we hope to see after a situation like this."
Back in February, White House counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway drew attention from the Office of Government Ethics with comments she made encouraging people to buy products from Ivanka Trump's clothing line.
The office's director warned there was "strong reason" to believe Conway violated ethics rules and said "disciplinary action was warranted." The White House said Conway was "counseled" over the issue.