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HUD promotes former CFPB official criticized for blog posts

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WASHINGTON — Eric Blankenstein, a former official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau whose racially charged blog posts sparked controversy, has been promoted to acting executive vice president of Ginnie Mae.

Blankenstein, who was policy associate director for supervision and enforcement at the CFPB, resigned from the consumer bureau in May. The following month, the Department of Housing and Urban Development hired him in its Office of General Counsel, where he oversaw matters relating to Ginnie Mae.

A HUD spokesman confirmed news of Blankenstein’s promotion on Friday. He will receive a slight raise in his new position. The news was first reported by Politico.

Blankenstein came under fire last year after the blog posts, written under a pen name more than a decade earlier, came to light. In the writings, he said people who use racial slurs aren’t necessarily racist, and called most hate crimes “hoaxes.” After the reports, several CFPB colleagues spoke out, saying they were concerned his views could cloud his decisions at the agency.

Maren Kasper, who led Ginnie Mae in the absence of a permanent president, left the agency Oct. 18 to pursue an opportunity in the private sector. Seth Appleton, HUD’s assistant secretary for policy development and research, was named as Ginnie Mae’s principal executive vice president. In his new role, Blankenstein will report to Appleton.

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