Pritzker Tapped for Commerce Secretary

Ran fundraising for president’s campaign in 2008.

Is President Obama hoping Penny Pritzker can stimulate the economy with her own money? The commander in chief selected businesswoman Penny Pritzker as his secretary of Commerce on Thursday morning—and if confirmed by the Senate, she would be the richest member of the current cabinet by a long shot. Pritzker and the president previously have worked closely together—she was his finance chair during his first White House campaign and co-chair of his second campaign. Certain groups may look upon the nomination with some scrutiny. Pritzker, with an estimated worth of $1.85 billion, is ranked as one of the 300 wealthiest people in the U.S. by Forbes magazine. The Pritzker family runs the Hyatt hotel chain, which has clashed with union leaders in Los Angeles and Chicago. In 2001 Superior Bank, which the Pritzker family co-owned and Penny Pritzker chaired from 1991 to 1994, became the largest bank failure in a decade.

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