Cantwell, Senate Democrats Demand Mick Mulvaney Explain Vetting Process of CFPB Political Appointees after Racist and Sexist Blog Post Surfaces

Author of Reprehensible Blog Posts Cannot be Entrusted with Enforcing Anti-Discrimination Laws

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), along with 12 other Senate Democrats, is demanding CFPB leadership explain how Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Policy Director Eric Blankenstein was chosen to oversee supervision, enforcement, and fair lending issues given his past racist writings.

Last week, the Washington Post uncovered a 2004 blog where Blankenstein, under an alias, posted bigoted writings on race, hate crimes, and women. In his current role as Policy Director at CFPB, Blankenstein is charged with enforcing consumer protection laws, including laws in place to prevent lending discrimination. CFPB leadership has failed to condemn Mr. Blankenstein’s writings, and failed to explain how someone with Mr. Blankenstein’s views came to be charged with fair lending responsibilities.

“Mr. Blankenstein was not hired through the competitive service process like most CFPB employees; he is one of your hand-selected political appointees. Further, you have specifically tasked him with overseeing the CFPB’s fair lending supervision and enforcement work at a time when you have decided to restructure the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity.” the senators wrote.  “It is unclear whether his appointment is due to a failure to investigate Mr. Blankenstein’s background prior to his appointment, Mr. Blankenstein withholding information from you and the CFPB, or an informed decision on your part to ignore his public comments.”

Joining Cantwell on the letter are Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Edward Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Mark Warner (D-VA).