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Another Obama Outrage: Why Did Billionaire Penny Pritzker Get a Free Pass?

On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker as Commerce Secretary in a baffling 97-1 sweep.

Why was she so easily confirmed?

Read on…and we'd love to hear your comments below.

Pritzker is a longtime friend of President Obama and steered his record-setting fundraising committee in 2008.

The Hyatt Hotel heiress and businesswoman is one of the wealthiest members of a presidential cabinet in history. She's part of the Washington elite, who live by their own rules, and taxpayers end up paying for their mistakes.

These 4 examples of our new Commerce Secretary's bad track record speak for themselves:

#1: Understated income by $80 million

This week, Pritzker acknowledged she understated her income by at least $80 million in the disclosure form required for her nomination.

The Office of Government Ethics released forms online showing the omission.

Pritzker's secretary stated the $80 million omission was a "clerical error."

#2: Perpetrator of the predatory loan racket that caused our economic collapse

President Obama addressed a Reading, Pa. crowd while campaigning back in 2008:

"Part of the reason we got a current mortgage crisis has to do with the fact that people got suckered into loans they could not pay. There were a lot of predatory loans that were given out, a lot of teaser rates. Banks and financial institutions making these loans were making money hand over fist."

I guess Obama doesn't have a problem with the people who did the suckering…

Penny Pritzker and her family co-owned Superior Bank FSB in Chicago. She pushed it to expand into subprime mortgages, which it did.

In 1999, regulators discovered that the Superior Bank was not properly accounting for exposures to bad loans.

This resulted in capital deficiency and caused the bank's ultimate failure in 2001, wiping out shareholders' money. It then received a FDIC bailout.

Superior Bank's predatory subprime lending ended up being the model used by perpetrators that contributed to the housing crash and financial crisis of 2008.

#3: Takes full advantage of tax loopholes

Obama has said time and time again that every single American, no matter how rich, should pay their "fair share" of taxes.

Well that's interesting, because his new billionaire Commerce Secretary and her family are infamous tax avoiders.

Citizens for Tax Justice, a public interest research organization, reported the following:

"One of the primary ways the Pritzker family uses offshore trusts to avoid taxes is by having income from their businesses funneled into offshore trusts. Those trusts then pay debt service to a bank, owned by the family trust, that loans that money right back to the business. The upshot is that all the taxable profits disappear and the family wealth accumulates unabated."

Regarding Pritzker herself, CTJ states that while her involvement with her family's tax avoidance legacy is unclear, it is clear Pritzker actively uses tax avoidance strategies in her personal and private life, including helping Hyatt avoid property taxes.

Now, I will clarify that Pritzker's actions here are legal – she is simply taking advantage of our broken U.S. tax code; that being said, it speaks to her character, especially in light of these other infractions.

No, the real issue here is blatant hypocrisy – Obama expects the citizens of this country to live by a different set of rules than he and his cronies.

#4: Employs abusive labor practices

The Pritzker family's Hyatt Corp. has been entangled with Unite Here, a hospitality workers union, in an ugly contract dispute.

Unite Here accuses Hyatt of subjecting workers to "abuse and mistreatment," sexism, retaliatory firing, and "crushing workloads."

The AFL-CIO, the largest labor union in the country, joined in with Unite Here in 2012. The move granted the accusations significant credibility and visibility.

Now, let me restate that Pritzker got through the Senate in a sweeping 97-1 vote. Republicans put up no fight.

Conservatives have shown ZERO interest in scapegoating Pritzker's business practices, extreme wealth, or questionable infractions.

Penny Pritzker isn’t the only bad actor Obama put in the White House. Check out who else is abusing power in Washington…

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

  1. James | June 28, 2013

    It appears as written that she is for the most part legal by the present laws, not that it is right.
    Asking why Republicans voted for her?, she is doing everything they approve of and probably if they are not now doing it now, they wish they could as far as the offshoring scenario, and exact description of the Mitt Romney story. I have to think that based on the story the Republicans hope for all to go their way, hence the vote. I may not take long, but time answers everything, perhaps not as wished. The crony situation needs no other name attached except perhaps,
    Washington, one of the few bipartisan practices in fact.

  2. Peter H. | June 28, 2013

    The outcome of the vote proves a valid observation…POLY=Many, TICS=Bloodsuckers. Regardless of the "stripe", an untouchable(no term limits), elitist body politic runs amok at the expense and to the detriment of the people they were meant to SERVE.

  3. Marc McGuire | June 28, 2013


  4. charles marra | June 28, 2013

    The voters that put this piece of crap in office are getting just what they diserve, its to bad the rest of us have to suffer. Ran Paul and Rubio 2016

  5. Andy Schuck | June 28, 2013

    Hopefully the ONE no vote was from our newest senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. Seems like he is one of the few that will tell us the TRUTH for a change.

  6. Ray Jamison | June 28, 2013

    We are now on the way to a fascist government. What voters want does not count anymore. The president just by-passes congress and just writes another executive order whenever he wants. It would not surprise me if what I just wrote pops up on some federal agency to check me out.

  7. Tara Clarke | June 28, 2013

    Thanks for all your comments so far.

    I am hearing a theme: You think Washington Cronyism is to blame.

    @Andy Schuck: The one "no" vote was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

  8. Mary | June 28, 2013

    The "NO" vote was Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont.

  9. philio maffia | June 29, 2013

    Being a limey it should nt bother me but it does . The world once looked up to USA , UK and europe for moral and humanitarian evolution . The UK goverment appointed Lord Stevens , ex church minister , hsbos , libor fraudster , to goverment . Its a clear indicator that the loan losses and leveredge amounts are far worse than stated . At least Allied Irish Bank executives were honest when they were recorded on tape saying 7 billion euro bailout figure was ' picked entirley from my arse ' . See max keiser show .

  10. Farley | June 29, 2013

    I guess Apple is not one of the elites when it comes to the "fair tax" payment plan

    And you are surprised by the actions of our "royal elites"? – – They were just voting for one of their own – – I mean one has to protect the private club standards, now don't we?

  11. Andy Rothauser | June 29, 2013

    Why are you knocking Obama for thinking like a Capitalist? Tax avoidance is perfectly legal. Apple has been doing it for years. Mitt Romney does it. If you don't like the tax code, lobby for reforms. Also, Pritzker's bank didn't invent subprime lending. Everybody was doing it both before and after her bank failed. I know that from personal experience, having spent time in the mortgage lending industry.The main culprit was the government's willingness to guarantee "no document" loans on homes, which was a provision that dates back years and was voted in by Congress. To get a loan you could lie about your income and nobody would question it. What did they expect? The whole industry was riddled with fraud, including the biggest lending brokers who are still in business today, one of whom is now a subsidiary of Bank of America.

    This article is hypocritical. obviously meant to attract libertarians to your publication. The usual diatribe against Obama is that he's down on capitalism and is some kind of "socialist". Yet here you imply that the unions are right to criticize Pritzker's company, which gives them much needed employment in a down economy. You need to study a book on logical analysis; your positions contradict each other.

  12. rolf meys | June 29, 2013

    Cronyism corruption disregard for citizens wellbeing. What is the difference between US and the great confucious society?
    At least they progress the opportunities of their future generation .(australian living in thailand most of the time)

  13. Melia Sese | June 30, 2013

    Pritzker – who is a descendant of Abe Pritzker (the Chicago outfit's "treasurer" back in the Capone era), is the perfect pick to epitomize the US and its corporatist government.

  14. MEL | August 18, 2013

    We are very unhappy & disappointed that an American Corp Hyatt Hotels gave a project we bidded on to CHINA. The project was on Amercian soil. Her HYATT VACATIONS CORP. are very UNAMERICAN & recommend you do not buy from an UNAMERICAN company. That is why we do not have jobs in this country. We would have employed americans to do the work & would have had Quality. They have forgotten how the USA has made them rich & now take full advantage of the workers that got them where they are at. Using investors that do not know how they run their corps. that hurt other americans. Great ,now she is Head of Dept of Commerce for the USA?
    How is she going to help this country? WE WANT QUALITY WORK. Not slave labor jobs.

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