Video: “Change you can believe in?”

posted at 11:21 am on May 3, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Bundlers and lobbyists and bailout recipients, oh my! The White House announced appointments for two key positions yesterday, and both raised eyebrows after Barack Obama’s pledge to keep influence-peddling out of the administration.  Penny Pritzker got the appointment to Commerce, assisted in no small measure by her bundling for both Obama presidential campaigns, while former telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler will chair the FCC.  After a discussion on the politics of gun control, CNN’s Jake Tapper asks his panel — is this change you can believe in?

President Obama announced Thursday that Penny Pritzker, an ex-national finance chair for the Obama campaign, will lead the Commerce Department. If confirmed, she will be the richest cabinet secretary in U.S. history. The president already skipped over her for the nod once.

The New York Times said of Pritzker in 2008, “Ms. Pritzker’s family is renowned for finding ways to avoid paying taxes on its wealth. The Pritzkers were pioneers in using tax loopholes to shelter their holdings from the internal revenue service, and many of their dealings have never been made public.” …

On Wednesday, the president named another campaign bundler, Tom Wheeler to head up the Federal Communications Commission. Wheeler spent two decades as a lobbyist representing the two industry groups that represented every single cable company, and every single cellphone provider.

Pritzker has more problems than the whiff of pay-for-play in this appointment.  Pritzker had been one of the original names floated after the 2008 election for a Cabinet choice, but her ties to the kind of subprime lending that blew up the economy — and especially the securitization that ended up infecting the financial markets —  ended up scotching the deal. In testimony to the Treasury IG probing the subprime failure, one witness said that Pritzker and the other owners of her bank, Superior, “were to sub-prime lending, what Michael Milken was to junk bonds.”  Here’s another piece from the Wayback Machine:

One of the banks that went under after making a lot of subprime loans — leaving 1,400 of its customers without part of their savings — was Chicago’s Superior Bank…

[A] letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times shows that until the end, Pritzker appeared to be taking a leadership role in trying to revive the bank with an expanded push into subprime loans.

Pritzker wrote in May 2001 that her family was recapitalizing the bank, and she pledged to “once again restore Superior’s leadership position in subprime lending.” The bank shut down in July 2001…

“They still owe me $113,000,” said Fran Sweet, 63, of Downers Grove, who deposited her $480,000 retirement account at Superior a month before it collapsed. “To the Pritzkers, this is nothing. They probably think, ‘Why pay her back?’ That’s nothing. But we’re all upset that someone who made these decisions could be in that position.”

Politico notes the, er, difficulty this might present Democrats during a confirmation hearing:

The big pick, in terms of headline potential and Obama’s personal involvement, came on Thursday morning with the commerce secretary nomination of Chicago financier and longtime Obama campaign fundraiser Penny Pritzker, whose family ties to a subprime lender, offshore bank accounts and the labor strife-wracked Hyatt hotel chain are likely to make for lively confirmation hearings. …

Reaction to the Pritzker pick among Republicans was muted but not especially friendly.

“Every nominee’s offshore tax avoidance activities should be examined as part of the nomination process,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement late Thursday. “If the commerce committee doesn’t explore these questions with the nominee, I plan to do so, but I hope the committee will give the tax history a serious look. This is the second nominee in a row, Jack Lew being the first, who’s associated with the kind of tax avoidance activity that the president dismisses as fat cat shenanigans for others. It’s hypocritical to overlook tax avoidance when it’s convenient.”

Obama spent all last year railing against fat cats getting government bennies while shoving their wealth off-shore.  He also spent the last several years attacking capital investors for greed in the financial collapse of 2008.  The Pritzker nomination might very well be the most hypocritical and cynical move from this administration yet.

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Obama spent all last year railing against fat cats getting government bennies while shoving their wealth off-shore. He also spent the last several years attacking capital investors for greed in the financial collapse of 2008. The Pritzker nomination might very well be the most hypocritical and cynical move from this administration yet.

Forward!

visions on May 3, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Obama spent all last year railing against fat cats getting government bennies while shoving their wealth off-shore. He also spent the last several years attacking capital investors for greed in the financial collapse of 2008. The Pritzker nomination might very well be the most hypocritical and cynical move from this administration yet.

Obama The Waiverer

BobMbx on May 3, 2013 at 11:25 AM

just think if the media put forth 10% effort into the 100% hypocritical President on this story…

hillsoftx on May 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Evolver-In-Chief.

hillsoftx on May 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Obama spent all last year railing against fat cats getting government bennies while shoving their wealth off-shore. He also spent the last several years attacking capital investors for greed in the financial collapse of 2008. The Pritzker nomination might very well be the most hypocritical and cynical move from this administration yet.

YAWN
-MSM

Gatsu on May 3, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Whether you agree or disagree with the policy, you must understand his intention is noble.

nonpartisan on April 22, 2013 at 8:05 PM

nobar on May 3, 2013 at 11:31 AM

The Pritzker nomination might very well be the most hypocritical and cynical move from this administration yet.

Keyword being “yet.” That mofo has more than three years to amp it up.

arnold ziffel on May 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM

What — no Gosnell thread that nonpartisan can b*tch about?

But seriously…

I’m at the point where Obama is old news. I’m sick of hearing about him, seeing him, and anything anyone has to say about him. At this point, I’m more interested in Kim Kardashian’s baby bump.

Liam on May 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Penny Pritzker picked a peck of pensioners’ pockets…

Fallon on May 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Well of course she’s going to get an appoint from him! Penny Pritzker bought Obama a house in Hawaii, did she not? So she’s due her crony-bennies.

starboardhelm on May 3, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.

Thomas Jefferson

workingclass artist on May 3, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Anybody noticed how the comments are not always attached to the correct blog post?

BobMbx on May 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Wasn’t one of the libtards – bayam or verbldouche – just yesterday asking something about why the wall street crooks haven’t been prosecuted?
Well here’s your answer – the biggest crooks are being appointed to Obumble’s cabinet.

dentarthurdent on May 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Penny Pritzker picked a peck of pensioners’ pockets…

Fallon on May 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

LOL – very nice.

dentarthurdent on May 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM

The New York Times said of Pritzker in 2008, “Ms. Pritzker’s family is renowned for finding ways to avoid paying taxes on its wealth. The Pritzkers were pioneers in using tax loopholes to shelter their holdings from the internal revenue service, and many of their dealings have never been made public.”

I can’t believe he didn’t make her Secretary of the Treasury.

bigmacdaddy on May 3, 2013 at 11:50 AM

The Pritzker nomination might very well be the most hypocritical and cynical move from this administration yet.

From a humble man………..

BacaDog on May 3, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Penny huh?

RavingLunatic on May 3, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Why is why conservatives consistently wonder why no one on Wall Street has been prosecuted for the massive fraud involved in the housing bubble crash. Oh wait…conservatives never ask those questions.

libfreeordie on May 2, 2013 at 10:32 AM

So phucktard..did you get your question answered?

Conservatives already knew the answer no need to ask. Obama can’t have his donors and potential cabinet members in prison.

HumpBot Salvation on May 3, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Whether you agree or disagree with the policy, you must understand his intention is noble.

nonpartisan on April 22, 2013 at 8:05 PM

nobar on May 3, 2013 at 11:31 AM

That kind of comedy is timeless. Ain’t it?

bigmacdaddy on May 3, 2013 at 11:55 AM

The definition of influence peddling is different in Kenya than the US. By Kenyan standards these are both great appointments.

On a lighter note. A fisherman in Maine just hit the jackpot. Mcgilla bought his whole catch of crustacseans and is planning a white house shin-dig for her and some close friends.

acyl72 on May 3, 2013 at 11:56 AM

That kind of comedy is timeless. Ain’t it?

bigmacdaddy on May 3, 2013 at 11:55 AM

It’s a one-post-fits-all apology.

nobar on May 3, 2013 at 11:57 AM

HumpBot Salvation on May 3, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Yes – that was the one I was thinking of.
Should have remembered it was libtardfree – but then bayam and verbaldouche say stupid crap like that all the time too.
Can you say “Jon Corzine” – I knew you could….

dentarthurdent on May 3, 2013 at 11:59 AM

“Ms. Pritzker’s family is renowned for finding ways to avoid paying taxes on its wealth.

Hmmmm….just like those fat-cat Kennedys.

But hardly a surprise. Rich Democrats DON’T pay taxes. Just ask Charlie Rangel and Lil’ Timmy Geithner.

GarandFan on May 3, 2013 at 11:59 AM

It’s a one-post-fits-all apology.

nobar on May 3, 2013 at 11:57 AM

It’s a Harvard Law grad, you know.

bigmacdaddy on May 3, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Obama spent all last year railing against fat cats getting government bennies

That was for the consumption of the low information voter. It worked because their attention span is about 5 seconds.

TulsAmerican on May 3, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Penny Pritzker picked a peck of pensioners’ pockets…

Fallon on May 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

And sadly, she EXEMPLIFIES all his other choices. Each and every one, apparently selected because of what they can do for HIM, rather what they can do for us. The guy is sickeningly self-absorbed.

Here we are, well into the 5th year of the Obama regime, and there are still days when I can be surprised by the “audacity”. He obviously doesn’t even care how this goes down on the left with the OWS crowd and the union stooges.

Murf76 on May 3, 2013 at 12:05 PM

you must understand his intention is noble.

nonpartisan on April 22, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Resist We Much on May 3, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Well of course she’s going to get an appoint from him! Penny Pritzker bought Obama a house in Hawaii, did she not? So she’s due her crony-bennies.

starboardhelm on May 3, 2013 at 11:36 AM

So true. But what I’m left wondering is, what’s in it for her?

iurockhead on May 3, 2013 at 12:06 PM

It’s a Harvard Law grad, you know.

bigmacdaddy on May 3, 2013 at 12:03 PM

LOL – ya.
Pathological liar or proof that Haahhvad is not nearly the quality school people seem to think it is.

dentarthurdent on May 3, 2013 at 12:07 PM

LOL – ya.
Pathological liar or proof that Haahhvad is not nearly the quality school people seem to think it is.

dentarthurdent on May 3, 2013 at 12:07 PM

I’m going with:

C. All of the above.

bigmacdaddy on May 3, 2013 at 12:09 PM

So true. But what I’m left wondering is, what’s in it for her?

iurockhead on May 3, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Stay out of jail free card for anything and everything she’s done – just like every other Obumble crony.

dentarthurdent on May 3, 2013 at 12:10 PM

So true. But what I’m left wondering is, what’s in it for her?

iurockhead on May 3, 2013 at 12:06 PM

AND better inside information for investment opportunities, and kickbacks and payoffs….

dentarthurdent on May 3, 2013 at 12:13 PM

nobar on May 3, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Teaches me to read the thread next time!

That is the quote that keeps on giving.

This might be its companion…

frankly, Im not informed enough to give an answer.

nonpartisan on May 1, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Resist We Much on May 3, 2013 at 12:13 PM

frankly, Im not informed enough to give an answer.

nonpartisan on May 1, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Resist We Much on May 3, 2013 at 12:13 PM

For once, it was honest.

bigmacdaddy on May 3, 2013 at 12:18 PM

We already know Mr. President is one of the most brazen hypocrites to ever serve in public office, but this move shows that either he is so indebted to these cronies that there’s no way out of promoting then to high level cabinet positions, or he’s just plain insane. I’m waiting to see what post Jay Z and his wife are going to be elevated to.

scalleywag on May 3, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Mitt Romney might have been a safer pick.

BKeyser on May 3, 2013 at 12:20 PM

The Pritzker nomination might very well be the most hypocritical and cynical move from this administration yet.

Once again the Admin is “defining deviancy down” …way down.

krome on May 3, 2013 at 12:24 PM

For once, it was honest.

bigmacdaddy on May 3, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Yeppers. It could save itself time and just repost that on every thread.

Resist We Much on May 3, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Yeppers. It could save itself time and just repost that on every thread.

Resist We Much on May 3, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Must be a masochist – just enjoys getting beaten on a regular basis.

dentarthurdent on May 3, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Must be a masochist – just enjoys getting beaten on a regular basis.

dentarthurdent on May 3, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Then it must be going through withdrawl. Haven’t seen much of it since it got its a§ handed to it and ran away to cower had to leave suddenly.

bigmacdaddy on May 3, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Ooh… The left is none to happy with this pick either. If you have a bit of time, read the comments.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/02-5

(Disclaimer: I have a leftie/greenie BIL who posted his disgust with this appointment on FB. I do not hang out on commondreams but, it looks like it would be a great place to troll, if one were so inclined…)

Fallon on May 3, 2013 at 12:38 PM

As long as the Food Stamps and welfare keep coming you won’t hear many liberals complaining….

albill on May 3, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Ooh… The left is none to happy with this pick either. If you have a bit of time, read the comments.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/02-5
Fallon on May 3, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Just a thought – but this wouldn’t be the first time Obumble nominated someone who couldn’t possibly get confirmed just so his real nominee slides through easier after everyone uses all their ammo in the battle over the initial scrifice.

dentarthurdent on May 3, 2013 at 12:43 PM

What you talking about Ed, everybody knows only rich white Republicans abuse the system and steal from the poor. Get your story straight. If I must, SARC.

DDay on May 3, 2013 at 12:45 PM

in terms of headline potential and Obama’s personal involvement, came on Thursday morning with the commerce secretary nomination of Chicago financier and longtime Obama campaign fundraiser Penny Pritzker, whose family ties to a subprime lender, offshore bank accounts and the labor strife-wracked Hyatt hotel chain are likely to make for lively confirmation hearings

Well, it would be if Obama had an (R) after his name, but as demonstrated by the Gosnell case, the only place this will be followed in in conservative blogs and on conservative talk radio.

The MSM knows when to fuggedaboutit. They’ve been doing that for the dems for years, and have put on welding goggles for the Obama administration in terms of scrutiny.

AZfederalist on May 3, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Democrat Response: But, but, but…… MITT ROMNEY!

KS Rex on May 3, 2013 at 1:15 PM

might very well be the most hypocritical and cynical move from this administration yet.

Well, it’d have to compete for the top spot with the following:

“What difference, at this point, does it make?”- H. Clinton paired with the Bengazi cover-up

Obama pledges to help reduce gun violence in Mexico; after the F&F program and cover-up.

socalcon on May 3, 2013 at 1:22 PM

in terms of headline potential…

CNN is leading with old racehorses get second chance and woman attempts to make history. WaPo has spring cleaning advice.

kunegetikos on May 3, 2013 at 1:24 PM

On the other hand, they’re probably removing a ‘pinnochio’ from the pledge “Most transparent administration ever”

socalcon on May 3, 2013 at 1:24 PM

The failure of Pritzker’s Superior Bank was considered important enough at the time that the Senate Banking Committee scheduled a hearing on it. That is where I was on the morning of September 11, 2001. And there was a packed hearing room.

There were allegations at the time that Pritzker’s Democratic ties got the Bank lenient treatment from the regulators during the Clinton administration, which led to the failure of the bank and a significant loss to the FDIC fund. The bank was finally closed after the Bush administration took over the FDIC in 2001.

rockmom on May 3, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Pritzker has other problems. Jarrett hates her.

novaculus on May 3, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Obama appoints a LBO master to be Commerce Secretary. The irony is thick.

blammm on May 3, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Pritzker is one of the REB’s favorite honeypots. She’s the one reported to have bought the REB an estate in Hawaii to retire to in case he lost the 2012 election.

Who Is Funding the Purchase of the $35 million Beachfront Hawaiian Estate for Barack and Michelle Obama to Move into Come January 2013?

slickwillie2001 on May 3, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Prior to the theft of the 2012 presidential election, when even some of the voting fraudsters on the left feared that real democracy might prevail in spite of their criminal actions, Pritzker was reportedly heavily involved in gathering up money from uber-1%-ers to buy OBOZO a mega-multi-million-dollar estate in Hawaii. So, of course, OBOZO will pay her back – he still wants that estate for his retirement.

TeaPartyNation on May 3, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Penny Pritzker picked a peck of pensioners’ pockets…

Fallon on May 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Grate alliteration, Fallon.

bw222 on May 3, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Pritzker has other problems. Jarrett hates her.

novaculus on May 3, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Because she’s a honky, Jewish b!tch?

bw222 on May 3, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Pritzker has other problems. Jarrett hates her.

novaculus on May 3, 2013 at 1:44 PM

That’s interesting, I didn’t think the REB had it in him to do anything that Valerie doesn’t approve of.

slickwillie2001 on May 3, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Whether you agree or disagree with the policy, you must understand his intention is noble.

nonpartisan on April 22, 2013 at 8:05 PM

nobar on May 3, 2013 at 11:31 AM

I’ll bet there were those who said the same thing about Hitler… (It’s a simple game called… Best Intentions)

RalphyBoy on May 4, 2013 at 1:43 AM