News Release

Commerce Secretary Nominee Tied to Bank Scandal


The Chicago Tribune reports today: “Making official what many Democrats have expected for weeks, President Obama plans to nominate Chicago business executive Penny Pritzker, a longtime political supporter and heavyweight fundraiser, as his new Commerce secretary on Thursday morning.

“Pritzker’s nomination could prove controversial. She is on the board of Hyatt Hotels Corp., which was founded by her family and has had rocky relations with labor unions, and she could face questions about the failure of a bank partly owned by her family.

“With a personal fortune estimated at $1.85 billion, Pritzker is listed by Forbes magazine among the 300 wealthiest Americans”

DENNIS BERNSTEIN, dennisjbernstein at
Bernstein reported extensively on the sub-prime scandals that saw bank failures in 2008 and 2009. He wrote the piece “Obama’s Sub-Prime Conflict” for

He said today: “Penny Pritzker played fast and loose with the American Dream. Her pioneering sub-prime operations, out of Superior Bank in Chicago, specifically targeted poor and working class people of color across the country. She ended up crashing Superior for a billion dollar cost to tax payers, and creating a personal tragedy for the 1,400 people who lost their savings when the bank failed. Pritzker, whose family controls Hyatt Regency Hotels, is in the top one percent of the one percent. Her extreme wealth and privilege has not only made her virtually untouchable by law enforcement, but will now allow her to cleanse her sordid sub-prime banking record by becoming the first woman Secretary of Commerce.” Bernstein, an award-winning investigative reporter, is the host and executive producer of “Flashpoints,” a daily news magazine syndicated on Pacifica Radio.

TIM ANDERSON, timanderson6575 at
Anderson, a Chicago-based specialist in banking regulation who reported on much of the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s, has closely examined the collapse of Superior Bank and the role of the Pritzker family. His papers include “A Gross Violation of Implied Trust by the Guardians of Superior Bank: OTS, FDIC, House Banking and the Media.” He has been cited by various media on these issues, including the Wall Street Journal in “A Top Obama Fund-Raiser Had Ties to Failed Bank.”

If Pritzker were to become Commerce Secretary, it would make her the wealthiest person in a cabinet that’s mostly made up of millionaires. See breakdown in the Washington Post.