Kraninger Still Hasn’t Condemned Blankenstein’s Reprehensible Hate Speech, But She’s Content With Him Continuing to Collect a Hefty Taxpayer-Funded Salary
WASHINGTON, D.C. – CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger sent a clear message to the American people today that she is willing to harbor those who hold racist and misogynistic views within her agency, even if it could undermine the CFPB’s ability to fight consumer discrimination. During her appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, Kraninger was asked about reports from September 2018 that her current C FPB Policy Associate Director Eric Blankenstein authored numerous racist and sexist blog posts as early as 2004 and as recently as 2016. When U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown provided Kraninger excerpts from Blankenstein’s racist blog posts and asked if she’d read them aloud, she declined, offering only that “the words here are not words I would use.”
Allied Progress, the consumer advocacy group that filed a lawsuit against the CFPB earlier this month for withholding FOIAed records around the time Blankenstein’s racist posts came to light, challenged Kraninger to answer a simple question: “If your top aide’s views are so unspeakable, why haven’t you fired him yet?”
Rather than take the opportunity to condemn the remarks, Kraninger chose to hide behind a fig leaf by referring to the investigation request sent last year by her predecessor Mick Mulvaney to the inspector general’s office to look into the matter. However, any notion that Mulvaney was serious about that request was dispelled when he sent a follow-up email to CFPB staff making clear he does not care if they express “personal views”, however offensive, on personal time. It’s no wonder the public hasn’t heard a word about the investigation from the IG’s office five months later.
As long as Eric Blankenstein draws a generous taxpayer salary, Kathy Kraninger’s message to consumers is that she either doesn’t care about his racist views, or worse, approves of someone like that overseeing lending discrimination matters in her agency. Blankenstein should have been fired immediately last September. But then-Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney kept his handpicked lieutenant in place in the face of internal revolt from CFPB staff and demands for Blankenstein’s ouster from a chorus of consumer advocacy and civil rights groups and members of Congress. Kathy Kraninger has no good excuse for keeping him around today.The man who was hired to oversee CFPB’s fair lending enforcement has lost all public trust that he can ensure that African Americans and other minorities will receive fair, non-discriminatory access to credit in light of his history of trafficking in hate as recently as a few years ago. This is especially concerning after Mulvaney gutted the CFPB’s enforcement powers and made it easier for lending discrimination to take place — policies which Kraninger has been all too happy to continue.
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