Inspector General Should Consider Newly Discovered and Highly Troubling Amazon Wish List in Blankenstein Probe

An “Eric Blankenstein” Who Lives/Lived in the Northern Virginia Neighborhood Where the CFPB’s Blankenstein Grew Up, Wish Listed a Book That Argues the Rise of Western Power in the World Was Due to Genetic Superiority

Group Calls on Mulvaney to Release Full Text of His Request for an Investigation


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, following news that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Acting Director Mick Mulvaney has asked for an inspector general investigation into the racist writing of Eric Blankenstein, Allied Progress called on the Inspector General to consider new information the consumer advocacy organization has uncovered that could shed additional light on Blankenstein’s abhorrent views on race.

Specifically, the group is asking the Inspector General to determine whether Blankenstein is the owner of a recently discovered Amazon Wish List in regular use since 2002 that includes A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, a Bell Curve-esque book that argues the rise of Western power in the world was due to genetic superiority. The Wish List is tied to an account belonging to someone named “Eric Blankenstein” who resides or resided in Burke, Virginia — the D.C. suburb where the CFPB’s Blankenstein appears to have grown up.

The letter to the Inspector General also points out that while Blankenstein follows few accounts on Twitter, he does follow Charles Murray, author of The Bell Curve, a highly controversial book that argued “Latin and black Immigrants are” a drag on the national intelligence level.

Is this Eric Blankenstein’s Amazon Wish List? It carries his name and is tied to the D.C. suburb where he apparently grew up. Consumers have a right to know if he has been pining for racially charged books that are just as controversial as his recently uncovered racist blog posts. The Inspector General should get to the bottom of this. Blankenstein’s views on race cast an ominous shadow over the actions he and Mulvaney have undertaken to curb fair lending enforcement at the CFPB,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

He continued, “We know Blankenstein follows on Twitter, the author of one of the most incendiary, racial tinged books published in the U.S. over the past twenty-five years. The more we learn about Blankenstein and his views on race, the more certain we are that he doesn’t belong in any position of leadership in our government, let alone one overseeing fair lending enforcement at the Bureau.”

In addition to its request to the office of the Inspector General, Allied Progress called on Mulvaney to release the full text of his request for an investigation.

It was Mick Mulvaney’s personal press aide who facilitated the first response to this controversy when Eric Blankenstein refused to take responsibility for his abhorrent writing and instead attacked his critics. It was Mr. Mulvaney’s chief of staff who rushed to keep Patrice Ficklin, the black woman and distinguished career staffer who serves as assistant director of the fair lending office, quiet when it became clear she was misled about the content of Blankenstein’s writing,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

He continued, “Mulvaney and his political staff have exhibited far more concern about the potential political fallout of Blankenstein’s views on race than they have about the hateful content of his writing. It would be foolish to take Mulvaney at his word that he has asked for a thoughtful and thorough inspector general investigation into Blankenstein. We want proof.”

Allied Progress has also submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the CFPB and office of the Inspector General for the full text of Mulvaney’s request for an investigation. The FOIAs will likely take months to process, but Mulvaney could release his request today.

Allied Progress Letter to Inspector General (PDF)
FOIA Request to CFPB (PDF)
FOIA Request to Inspector General (PDF)

What You Need To Know

The “Eric Blankenstein” Amazon Wish List Includes a Bell Curve-esque Book That Argues the Rise of the Western Power in the World Is Tied to Superior Genetics.

  • A person using the name “Eric Blankenstein,” living in Burke, Virginia, included the controversial book “A Troublesome Inheritance” on their Amazon wish list. The book argues that different races are genetically distinct, like subspecies, and that these differences underlie the rise of Western power in history. Critics argued that the book backs science that  is used to argue against the notion that all people are equal under the law. [Eric Blankenstein Profile, Amazon, accessed 07/23/18; Eric Blankenstein Amazon Wish List, Amazon, accessed 07/23/18]
  • The Account Was Active Years Before the Controversy Over Blankenstein’s Blog Posts Erupted. The Wish List includes books added over a long time period, From 2002 – 2015. The account also posted one review in 2015. [Eric Blankenstein Amazon Wish List, Amazon, accessed 07/23/18; Eric Blankenstein Profile, Amazon, accessed 10/12/18] 

  • The CFPB’s Eric Blankenstein Appears to Have Grown Up in Burke, Virginia And His Parents Have Owned A Home There Since 1978. In the Virginia Marriage Register, Eric Blankenstein’s parents are listed as Paul Blankenstein and Nadine Rae Bruch. [Fairfax County Marriage Register; Book 123, Page 2287]

    • Paul And Nadine Blankenstein, Eric’s Parents, Own A Home in Burke, Virginia. The Blankenstein’s purchased the home in August 1978. [Fairfax County Assessment Record for Paul and Nadine Blankenstein, accessed 10/12/18]

 

  • The “Eric Blankenstein” Amazon wish list includes four books about politics. They are:
    • A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History by Nicholas Wade
    • Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 by Pauline Maier
    • The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds by Tammy Bruce
    • The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society by Heather MacDonald
      [Eric Blankenstein Amazon Wish List, Amazon, accessed 07/23/18]
  • The Reviews Are In: A Troublesome Inheritance fails to “[grapple] with the reality” that the supposed “science of racial differences presents an affront” to our “hard-won political understanding…that all people deserve equal treatment under the law.”
    • “Now, in ‘A Troublesome Inheritance,’ Nicholas Wade, a longtime science writer for The New York Times, says modern genetics shows that ‘the three major races,’ Africans, Caucasians and East Asians, are genetically distinct races that diverge much as subspecies do, and that their genetic differences underlie ‘the rise of the West.'” [David Dobbs, “The Fault in Our DNA,The New York Times, 07/10/18]
    • “And even though he offers a chapter on what he calls the ‘perversions of science’ that led to eugenics and ultimately to the Holocaust, he never satisfyingly grapples with the reality that strictures against this type of research remain in place for a reason: namely that the science of racial differences presents an affront to our relatively fragile and hard-won political understanding (widely sanctioned internationally) that all people deserve equal treatment under the law.” [Seth Shulman, “Book review: “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History,” by Nicholas Wade,Washington Post, 05/23/14]

On Twitter, Eric Blankenstein Follows Charles Murray, Who Is Best Known For Writing The Bell Curve, Which Argues “Latin And Black Immigrants Are” A Drag On The National Intelligence Level

  • On Twitter, Blankenstein Follows Only 80 Accounts – One of Them is Charles Murray.

 

[Following – Twitter Profile for Eric Blankenstein, accessed 10/02/18]

Charles Murray Is A Popular Conservative Writer Best Known for The Bell Curve, Which Argued That “Latin And Black Immigrants Are, At Least In the Short Run, Putting Some Downward Pressure on The Distribution of Intelligence.”

  • Murray Has Argued That IQs Vary Among Races on A “Genetic Basis.” “Murray is a popular conservative intellectual best known for co-writing The Bell Curve, which posited, in a controversial section, a genetic basis for the observed difference between black and white IQs.” [Ezra Klein, “Sam Harris, Charles Murray, and the allure of race science,” Vox, 03/27/18]
  • Murray Has Argued, “Latin And Black Immigrants Are, At Least In the Short Run, Putting Some Downward Pressure on The Distribution of Intelligence.” In The Bell Curve, Charles Murray and co-author Richard Herrnstein wrote, “the kernel of evidence that must also be acknowledged is that Latin and black immigrants are, at least in the short run, putting some downward pressure on the distribution of intelligence.” [Matthew Iglesias, “The Bell Curve is about policy. And it’s wrong.Vox, 04/10/18]
  • Murray Has Argued That the U.S. Is “Encouraging the Wrong Women” To Reproduce. In The Bell Curve, Charles Murray and co-author Richard Herrnstein wrote, “The United States already has policies that inadvertently social-engineer who has babies, and it is encouraging the wrong women. If the United States did as much to encourage high-IQ women to have babies as it now does to encourage low-IQ women, it would rightly be described as engaging in aggressive manipulation of fertility.The technically precise description of America’s fertility policy is that it subsidizes births among poor women, who are also disproportionately at the low end of the intelligence distribution. We urge generally that these policies, represented by the extensive network of cash and services for low-income women who have babies, be ended.” [Matthew Iglesias, “The Bell Curve is about policy. And it’s wrong.Vox, 04/10/18]
  • Murray Has Argued That “Well-Meaning Whites Fear That They Are Closet Racists” And His Books Tells Them Otherwise “It’s worth noting, too, that The Bell Curvesits in a broader context within Murray’s work. His previous book, Losing Ground, argued that the Great Society’s anti-poverty programs had simply made the poor poorer. ‘A huge number of well-meaning whites fear that they are closet racists, and this book tells them they are not,’ Murray said. ‘It’s going to make them feel better about things they already think but do not know how to say.'” [Ezra Klein, “Sam Harris, Charles Murray, and the allure of race science,” Vox, 03/27/18]

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