Ties To Failed Bank Previously Dogged Obama’s Likely Commerce Choice

President Obama’s likely pick for Commerce Secretary is billionaire Penny Pritzker, but she has ties to the financial crisis. Does it matter anymore?

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President Obama’s likely pick for Commerce Secretary is billionaire Penny Pritzker, according to a Bloomberg report. But President Obama’s top choice previously took herself out of the running for the same post in 2008 citing her family’s past sour business ventures that could be politically embarrassing during a confirmation process.

Pritzker, who served as national campaign finance chairwoman in 2008 for the Obama campaign, reportedly feared “problems with her confirmation based on past business dealings,” according to a Democratic official speaking to Politico at the time.

Pritzker was linked to the 2001 collapse of subprime-mortgage lender Superior Bank, where she oversaw her family’s 50% ownership stake.

Superior Bank was seized by the government in 2001 and was later closed by government regulators. The bank engaged in predatory lending practices and poor financial activities that led to its demise according to government regulators.

The Pritzker family reached an agreement with government regulators to pay $460 million. Without admitting wrongdoing, the family agreed to pay $100 million immediately, and another $360 million over 15 years.

Obama’s pick of Pritzker show ties to the financial crisis are no longer considered a dagger in American politics.

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Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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