CFPB fair lending officer now under investigation over controversial writings

by Francis Monfort21 Oct 2018

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Acting Director Mick Mulvaney has asked the Inspector General Office of the Federal Reserve to conduct a formal investigation into controversial writings by Eric Blankenstein, policy associate director of the agency’s Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending division, according to an Associated Press report.

In September, a report by The Washington Post detailed blog posts by Blankenstein including one in which he claimed that a majority of hate crimes were hoaxes.

Mulvaney’s move follows a letter from the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents employees at the consumer watchdog, expressing concerns about Blankenstein remaining in his role.

The union “believes that every federal employee should have a workplace where they are confident they are treated fairly and without discrimination,” Union President Tony Reardon said. “In speaking with our members at CFPB, it is clear to me that those under Eric Blankenstein’s leadership do not have this confidence.”

Left-leaning and consumer organizations have previously urged Mulvaney to fire Blankenstein. For the most part, however, Mulvaney has backed Blankenstein, according to the report.

Blankenstein is responsible for all of the CFPB’s investigations into possible discrimination by banks and other financial companies. With an annual salary of more than $250,000, Blankenstein is also among the highest paid employees in the federal government, the Associated Press reported.