Oops! Obama’s commerce secretary nominee failed to report $80 million income

Penny Pritzker Sec Comm nom

Penny Pritzker

While clerical errors are common, $80 million seems like a big chunk to overlook when preparing a financial statement. But apparently that’s what happened to President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Commerce in preparation for her Senate Confirmation Hearing last Thursday.

In a generally friendly exchange the Senate Commerce Committee asked billionaire Penny Pritzker, Obama’s close friend and major fund raiser from Chicago, numerous questions about her fortune and her business dealings.

Pritzker, one of the richest women in America, answered questions about offshore trust accounts managed by a Canadian bank that are a large part of her fortune, which is estimated at $1.85 billion.

“I didn’t create them, I don’t direct them, I don’t control them, but I have complied with all of the disclosure obligations, etc., that have been required of me in this process,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker was also quizzed on how her family’s Hyatt hotel chain deals with organized labor. Members of the Unite Here hotel workers’ union were there to criticize the nomination, calling the Hyatt “the worst hotel employer in America” due to its treatment of workers and failure to reach a new labor contract.

Sen. John Thune, R-SD, asked Pritzker about Superior Bank, a Hinsdale savings and loan where she served as chair, that went bankrupt in 2001.

In response to the missing income, Pritzker’s lawyer, Robert Rizzi, said in a letter to a Commerce Department attorney that the income was not in original filings “because of a clerical error and through no fault of Ms. Pritzker.”

Despite the controversy, Thune reportedly commented informally to reporters that he did not see too many roadblocks to her nomination, and that he was satisfied with her answers about her role in the bank’s collapse and income from offshore trust investments.

Watch the ABC News report here.

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Cheryl Carpenter Klimek

Cheryl Carpenter Klimek

Cheryl Carpenter Klimek has been a political consultant handling public affairs, political campaigns and PAC management for nearly 20 years.
Cheryl Carpenter Klimek


14 thoughts on “Oops! Obama’s commerce secretary nominee failed to report $80 million income

  1. KB Cook says:

    A culture of corruption never turns out well in the areas of honesty & integrity of character, don'cha know!

  2. JJ says:

    $80MM in missing income due to a "clerical" error? Really? She must have attended the Tim Geithner school of tax accounting…Wow…and they report this stuff with a straight face…have we had enough of this stuff yet? 45 months and counting…

    1. J.J I almost just fell out of this chair below me.

      Along with a lot

      of other people

      in the White House currently

      ,we need to get rid of Geithner &other czars who don't know how to manage money.Liz

  3. Doug Hanks says:

    Chicken feed.

  4. Richard Lowry says:

    Sounds pretty normal for this adminstration! Whats 80M amoung friends, probably forgot to put it on her income tax return too.

  5. Crooked Wren says:

    I thought billionaires who had offshore accounts were evil and in charge of every detail. I thought billionaires who didn't report all their income were evil. I thought billionaires were colonialist evil people who ripped off the poor. Oh Wait. . . . that was Romney, right? Koch Brothers, right?

    Doesn't apply to King Bo's friends.

  6. Patricia says:

    We the people should be encharge of ALL goverment money they keep loseing the money but, still trying to convince us that they NO best. LOL

  7. Patricia says:


  8. Charlotta says:

    This is disturbing. I am an accounting major and can tell you that she should have had to sign those financial statements. If she knows so little about the practices involved in accounting for her company and business dealings this is a great reason she should not be in any government office.

    1. tinkabell says:

      Good take on the situation…you should get that nomination. YOU GET IT!

  9. jon nerison says:

    I can't believe how many people, in this administration, have shown ,us overwhelming evidence, as to why they are totally wrong for the position, are welcomed, patted on the back, and eventually, given promotions, and in many cases, bonuses for being totally inept !!!

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