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October 16, 2018

Office of the Inspector General


Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Submitted Electronically

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear FOIA Officer:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, Allied Progress requests access to and copies of:

Any correspondence sent by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) “Acting Director”
Mick Mulvaney, or any representative of the CFPB, to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
regarding CFPB official Eric Blankenstein (including Blankenstein’s past comments on race
and media coverage of those comments) at any point since and including September 26, 2018.

If possible, I would prefer to receive this information electronically via e-mail at


karl.frisch@alliedprogress.org. If you have questions or need additional information, please
feel free to call me at (202) 644-8526.

Fee Waiver Request

Allied Progress requests a waiver of fees because it qualifies for classification as a “news
media” requester, responsible only for duplication fees under FOIA's fee assessment
provisions. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
(CFPB), and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have all recognized this status in
light of the regular publication and dissemination activities in which Allied Progress engages.
Allied Progress will use the information gathered, and its analysis of it, to educate the public
through reports, press releases, or other media. Allied Progress will also make materials it
gathers available on its public website.

The disclosure of the requested information is also “in the public interest because it is likely
to contribute significantly to public understanding” of government operations and is not
“primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.” The disclosure of the information
sought under this request will document and reveal the operations of the federal government,
including how public funds are spent and how officials conduct the public's business.

On September 26, The Washington Post reported that CFPB official Eric Blankenstein, a
political appointee who leads the bureau’s Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending
division, expressed controversial views on a blog, including questioning if using the “n-word”

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(which he spelled out in full) was racist and suggesting that most hate crimes were “hoaxes.”1
The comments called into question Blankenstein’s ability to objectively carry out the CFPB’s
duty to protect consumers from discriminatory lending.

On October 15, Mick Mulvaney “told reporters at a mortgage banking industry conference in
Washington that he believed he’d asked for an inspector general investigation” into the
Blankenstein situation. 2 The next day, on October 16, “A CFPB official confirmed in an email
today to POLITICO that ‘the matter has been referred to the IG.’” 3 This request seeks
documents concerning that referral to ensure that Mr. Blankenstein is being held accountable
for his comments.

This request is primarily and fundamentally for non-commercial purposes. As a project of a


501(c)(3) organization, Allied Progress does not have a commercial purpose and the release
of the information requested is not in Allied Progress's financial interest. Allied Progress's
mission is to give voice to hard-working Americans by standing up to Wall Street and other
powerful special interests and holding their allies in Congress and the White House
accountable.

Accordingly, Allied Progress qualifies for a fee waiver.

Conclusion

If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to
specific exemptions of the act. Additionally, if any documents are withheld based on the
Agency's interpretation of any exemption, Allied Progress requests that you provide an index
of those documents as required under Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert.
denied, 415 U.S. 977 (1974). Specifically, this Vaughn index should describe withheld
documents with enough specificity to determine whether the material is exempt under the
act and must describe each document or portion withheld.

Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Karl Frisch
Executive Director
Allied Progress

1Robert O'Harrow Jr., Shawn Boburg and Renae Merle, “Trump anti-discrimination official
once called most hate crimes hoaxes,” The Washington Post, 09/26/18
2 Colin Wilhelm, “Mulvaney investigating aide's controversial blog posts, suggests inspector general
review,” Washington Examiner, 10/15/18
3 Katy O’Donnell, “Mulvaney refers controversy over racially charged blog posts to inspector

general,” POLITICO, 10/16/18