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Penny Pritzker, Obama's finance chair, said to be Commerce choice

CNN, quoting "multiple sources," is reporting this evening that Penny Pritzker is the top choice of President-elect Barack Obama to become his secretary of Commerce.

Penny Pritzker billionaire heiress of Hyatt hotel chain national finance chair of president-elect Barack Obama's campaign said to be his top choice for Secretary of Commerce

The 49-year-old billionaire was national finance chair of Obama's record-breaking presidential campaign that raised in the neighborhood of $640 million.

CNN also reported that Obama would select Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to head the Department of Homeland Security.

To view a news video on the ongoing formation of the Obama Cabinet, click on the "Read more" line below.

As The Ticket reported recently, Pritzker donated $37,300 to various Obama fundraising accounts this cycle and was named a member of his Transition Economic Advisory Board.

She is an heir of the Pritzker family of Chicago that founded the Hyatt chain of hotels. Her brother, Jay Robert "J.B." Pritzker, was a national finance chair for Obama's New York rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and is listed among the top 150 richest Americans.

Penny Pritzker is currently chairwoman of Classic Residence by Hyatt and is listed as among the wealthiest 140 Americans, with an estimated fortune of nearly $3 billion.

If she is Obama's choice to run the Commerce Department, Pritzker is likely to undergo some questioning during Senate confirmation hearings about her role as onetime chairwoman of Chicago's Superior Bank, which went under due to a significant number of the kind of subprime loans that Obama so often denounced on the campaign trail this year.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Hyatt Hotels

Comments () | Archives (12)

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Yeah, maybe Pritzker can help out. She can call around the world and ask for donations to help our country recover from the disaster called the Bush administration.

Sec. Pritzker calling the Republic of Georgia (we only hear her side of the conversation):

Hello, this is Commerce Secretary Pritzker from the US. May I talk to Prime Minister Saakashvili?

Of course I'll wait.

Hey, Saaki, how're you doing?

Oh not that good, huh? Look Saaki we're having a bit of a tough time here, too. You know all the world seems to be against us, blaming us for the collapse of the credit markets and the world wide recession.

You don't want your buddies to lose their creds, do you?

If we lose our leadership status, you know who wins. That's right. Your big bully of a neighbor.

So...., can we put you down for a donation to help keep us Number One?

Good, good. So how much?

F..i..v..e g..o..a..t..s.


Okay, Saaki so why don't you just have those hauled over to the ambassador's house. He doesn't eat goat, but I'm guessing he can sell them to Azerbaijan or something.

No no, don't worry about the small donation. That's how we won the election.

Can we sign you up for a monthly subscription plan?

Talk about a subprime appointment ! Oy vay ! I guess we
can live with this putz as long as he keeps governor
Judas out of the cabinet.

The comment above should be dismissed for its naivete:

Saakashvili was armed to the teeth by Bush (70% of the Georgian budget goes to armaments, even tho the capitol, Tblisi, suffers rolling blackouts due to lack of $);

Bush has armed Georgia to the degree the road to the airport in Tblisi has been renamed George W Bush Avenue;

8/7/08 Saakashvili attacked the Russian peacekeepers appointed by the UN to protect the non-Georgian majority from the constant threats of Saakashvili to invade and control quasi-independent So. Ossetia, which voted in the 1990s to secede from Georgia (Stalin had stolen So Ossetia and put it under the jurisdiction of Georgia);

Bush has pressured NATO, so far unsuccessfully, to accept Georgian membership;

Zbig Bzrezinski, father of 0bama supporter Mika on msnbc and foreign policy guru to 0bama who has written and spoken extensively that Russia must be dismantled in order to achieve US global hegemony, expects 0bama to use his far superior negotiating skills to shmooze NATO into accepting Georgia and set up a NATO base right up against the belly of Russia, thereby threatening reponse by the nuclear-armed Bear to its then-complete loss of the buffer against the West that was the Warsaw Pact, set up by Stalin to keep another Western invader (Napolenon, Hitler) at bay;

the goal of The Gravy Train of Death that is the Mil-Ind Complex is to continue to instigate Russian response to American/NATO hot military pressure, under 0bama as under Bush, replacing Bush's War on Terror which no one wants with Cold War II, thereby insuring an increasing 0bama military budget even in the face of a Deeperession.

0bama voters: You have been betrayed.

This PP was imposed by G. Sorros et als . When venal
and corrupt heiresses enter presidential cabinets the sky
is about to fall.

is this the "change" he campaigned on for 18 months??

how can I take my vote back!!???

my goodness, he give the commerce department to a Billionaire kid who has no experience running anything

and give the Homland security to governor of Arizona ??? why?just because she was one of the early governor supporting HIM.

I don't like the smell of things

So it will be any minute now that liberals will be saying how
out of touch she is with main st. Americans and counting
how many cars and houses she owns.

So all Obama has to do is bring on Johnson and Raines
and he will have the lions share of the people who helped crash this economy with their sub prime corruption and
fighting off any regulation stating up until the Democratic Convention that"Fannie and Freddie are strong,their collapse is being exaggerated(according to super smart Barny Frank).

The Best Congress Fannie Could Buy
This is a long and complicated story about how Obama backers were behind the mortgage industry meltdown. It hast to start some where, so lets start with a well known Chicago name Penny Pritzker. It starts with a bank failure.

In 1990, Johnson went to work for the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and quickly became its $5 million-a-year chairman. His compensation rose to a reported $21 million by his final year, 1998.

In the last year, Johnson, who once was a member of an organization known as Friends of Hillary, has become tightly tied to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. It's Johnson's job to vet potential vice presidential candidates for Obama, a duty he also performed for Walter Mondale, who ended up running with Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, and John Kerry, who ended up with John Edwards, four years ago.

Raines, who headed the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration, left Fannie Mae in 2004 after the Securities and Exchange Commission determined that it had used improper accounting. The federally chartered mortgage-funding company later corrected its books, wiping out $6.3 billion of previously reported profit.
District-based Fannie Mae reached a settlement with regulators in 2006, agreeing to pay $400 million.
Announcing the administrative charges in December 2006, OFHEO Director James B. Lockhart III said the former executives "improperly manipulated earnings to maximize their bonuses . . . misleading the regulator and the public." These charges cover 1998 to 2004.

must be a genius to keep all that all in his head. So lets look at another little connection. Which politicians did Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's Political Action Committees support? How about a look at the top five.
1. Dodd, Christopher J D-CT $133,900
2. Kerry, John D-MA
3. Obama, Barack D-IL
4. Clinton, Hillary D-NY
5. Kanjorski, Paul E D-PA

How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis: Kevin Hassett
Commentary by Kevin Hassett

Now that the collapse has occurred, the roadblock built by Senate Democrats in 2005 is unforgivable. Many who opposed the bill doubtlessly did so for honorable reasons. Fannie and Freddie provided mounds of materials defending their practices. Perhaps some found their propaganda convincing.
But we now know that many of the senators who protected Fannie and Freddie, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd, have received mind-boggling levels of financial support from them over the years.

Yea,it was all Bush's fault.This is not going to work anymore democrats.You can't sit on the sidelines spinning your failures on Bush anymore.

Ah, yes. Invite the arsonist to the paper house. Perfect.

Does Obama have any brains at all? Does he want Pritzker to do for Commerce what she did for Superior Bank and for the subprime market?

Chances are, looking at the family's history of being lawyers, preference for tax shelters, and lots of foreign ops, I wouldn't be surprised WHEN we see another 'New Low' for a Party in POWER. So far, NO ONE has impressed me that Obama is effecting change, except for the line at the public trough; it's all Dem Party LOYALISTS - loyal to the Party, not America.

Penny Pritzker and her equally monied relatives have been fighting over the family fortune for years. They keep divesting and reinvesting all in the name of family disharmony. She and her brother sold off 40% interest in one company right before the market began to tank this fall. Her assisted living company is being sued by its own residents. There is conflict of interest everywhere . If Obmaa feels he owes her, how about a nice dinner? Penny Pritzker is not capable of running a blender let alone a government department.

What is especially exciting is that AN Pritzker MADE all the family fortune, his two sons managed it; now it's the 3rd generation of FREELOADING inheritorsa pretending to be leaders in business, govt and poly tics!!! Wow! Awsomely AWFUL CHOICE, obama!!!!! Now, after voting for you, you're showing sign of bush dementia!!!

I know her and she is a smart, principled, fine person. The country is fortunate to have her.

Check Penny's Closets for Dirty Laundry, whether or not, she is not nominated for Commerce. There may be some skeletons, in addition to A LOT of Dirty Laundry!!!! No wonder she has declined any scrutiny and WILL RUN AWAY from being nominated FROM ANYTHING that would invite public scrutiny!!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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