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Blankenstein’s Comments Spread Dissent at BCFP

“Discontent” is brewing at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection as more employees and senior staff at the agency express concerns over the fitness of Eric Blankenstein, the BCFP’s policy director of supervision, enforcement and fair lending, who admitted last week to authorizing a series of posts 14 years ago that used a racial slur and suggested that most hate crimes are “hoaxes.”

“The language used, and sentiments expressed, are completely unacceptable and call into question Eric’s ability to lead the fair lending program specifically, and the division generally,” wrote Kirsten Donoghue, the BCFP’s assistant director of enforcement, who shared her thoughts in an email to agency staff last week.

Donoghue is the second senior staffer at the BCFP to question whether Blankenstein should continue to work at the BCFP following last week’s revelation. The second senior staffer — Patrice Ficklin — initially expressed support for Blankenstein, but subsequently withdrew that support after she read the blog posts, according to a published report. Donoghue said that all 100 attorneys in the BCFP’s enforcement division shared her feelings about Blankenstein.

The president of the BCFP’s union has said that Blankenstein should not be leading the agency’s fair lending operation, especially since Blankenstein has not apologized for what he wrote. Blankenstein, who started working at the BCFP earlier this year following nearly a decade in private practice, is one of the highest-paid workers in the federal government, earning nearly $260,000 per year.

Neither Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the bureau, nor Kathy Kraninger, who has been nominated to replace Mulvaney as the agency’s next permanent director, have issued any public comments about Blankenstein.

 

 

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