CFPB official whose racist writings stirred ire resigns

NEW YORK (AP) — Eric Blankenstein, a Trump administration appointee at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who came under fire last year for racist comments he wrote several years before, is leaving the bureau.

Blankenstein was appointed in 2018 as CFPB’s director for supervision, enforcement and fair lending. He was one of seven political appointees brought on by Mick Mulvaney, who was at the time President Donald Trump’s acting director of the bureau. He was also one of the top paid members of Mulvaney’s staff, making more than $250,000 a year in his role.

It was the last part of his title that became a source of controversy after left-leaning activist groups uncovered blog posts Blankenstein had written a decade ago where he said most hate crimes were hoaxes and that using the n-word doesn’t mean someone is racist.

The writings caused considerable controversy inside the bureau. CFPB employees, particularly those in the Office of Fair Lending, said they did not feel comfortable working with Blankenstein. In his defense, Blankenstein said the writings reflected “poor judgment” and did not reflect his views today.

Mulvaney was adamant about keeping Blankenstein on in his current role when he ran the bureau for most of 2018. Kathy Kraninger, who became permanent director of the bureau late last year, was less enthusiastic in her backing of Blankenstein but ultimately chose not to fire him.

Blankenstein has not said where he will be going after the CFPB.