Democratic President Picks Anti-Labor Tax Evader for Commerce Post
By William Boardman
Had She Offered Them Her Ring, They Would Have Kissed It
While the fawning millionaire courtiers who populate the United States Senate fall all over themselves to smooth the way for Chicago billionaire Penny Sue Pritzker Traubert to become the next Secretary of Commerce, one might wonder what the country is getting here. In terms of hope and change, for example, what might Pritzker (she goes by her maiden name) portend in light of her public record?
On May 2, President Obama nominated Pritzker, his formidable fund raiser for more than a decade, to fill the vacancy at the Commerce Dept. With an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion, Pritzker, 54, is married to Dr. Bryan Traubert and they have two children, Rose Pritzker Traubert and Donald Pritzker Traubert. Pritzker is a graduate of Harvard College, 1981, and Stanford Law School, 1984.
In the early 1990s, she was on the board of a family-owned bank that was a pioneer in the subprime loan business. The Pritzger family bank, Security Bank in Illinois, was also a pioneer in packaging all-but-worthless loans into all-but-worthless securities that the bank sold to unsuspecting customers. Security Bank failed in 2001, at the time the largest bank failure in a decade. Accused of unsound financial activities and predatory lending, the Pritzkers agreed to pay the U.S. government $460 million in fines (over 15 years) -- a settlement in which Pritzker and her bank naturally admitted no wrongdoing.