HUD is promoting Eric Blankenstein, the former CFPB official whose racially charged blog posts sparked an uproar last year.
Blankenstein will become the acting executive vice president at Ginnie Mae, the government-run corporation that promotes homeownership, according to an internal agency email obtained by POLITICO. Blankenstein currently works in HUD’s Office of General Counsel on Ginnie Mae matters.
His promotion is sure to infuriate Democrats who have called on HUD to fire Blankenstein because he once questioned the legitimacy of hate crimes and whether using the N-word is inherently racist in old blog posts uncovered by The Washington Post last year.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the top Democrat on the Banking Committee, have both repeatedly criticized HUD’s decision in June to hire Blankenstein.
The revelation of his past writings also drew the condemnation of consumer advocates and agency employees. The union representing employees sent a letter to then-acting Director Mick Mulvaney, demanding that Blankenstein be axed.
Before he left the CFPB in May, Blankenstein, a political appointee hired by Mulvaney, led the division in charge of fair lending and enforcement at the agency.
In his new position, he will report to HUD Assistant Secretary Seth Appleton, Ginnie’s principal executive vice president.
“Secretary [Ben] Carson and I have confidence in Eric as he assumes this new role,” Appleton wrote in an email to staff Thursday. “I am certain that Eric will be a strong advocate for the important work that you do before HUD’s leadership and within the administration,” he added.
Blankenstein will receive a slight raise, according to a HUD official with knowledge of the matter.