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Who is Penny Pritzker & Why Is She Obama’s Finance Chair?

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Yet another Obama scandal brewing? Predatory Lending/Mortgage Meltdown Heiress Is Obama’s Finance Chair…

Our friends over at have picked up an interesting item from yet another blog, GDAEman who posted about an interesting Podcast from Flashpoints, the last two being from last February.  You can listen with Windows Media podcast here.

On February 20, 2008, on Flashpoints Radio broadcast an investigative report into Penny Pritzker, who is Obama’s campaign finance chairman. She and her family were central to the innovation known as “Mortgage Backed Securities,” which are now at the center of the financial crisis and real estate melt down.

Pritzker is one of the most active of celebrated Chicago patriarch Abraham N. Pritzker’s 12 living grandchildren. A Harvard-trained attorney, Pritzker, 46, was chosen by her late uncle Jay to help oversee the family’s vast portfolio of investments, including the Hyatt Hotel chain and the Marmon Group industrial conglomerate (Forbes Lists 2005).  Interestingly enough Marmon was aquired by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway in March of 2008.  Warren Buffet is a key economic advisor to Barack Obama.

Penny Pritzker gave $1000 to both John McCain and George W. Bush in the 1999 primary. She also gave money to McCain for Senate in 1998. She also gave money to Barack Obama for his failing House bid in 1999. She gave to Bill Frist, Rudi Giuliani‘s exploratory fund, and several other Republicans in 2000. $4,000 to Joe Lieberman in 2006 (he’s practically a Republican). Dennis Hastert in 2006, 2003. You get the idea. Our Noble Obama’s campaign finance chair likes to spread money around. Grease the wheels so to speak. She’s a billionaire. A Woman of the people (NOT!).

GDAEman’s blog says:

As of today (February 2008), A Google search of Penny Pritzker Obama generates 9,700 hits. Expect that number to grow over the coming months. But today, you are led to comments on Nation Magazine article entitled “Subprime Obama” – Letters (article link in Sources below. One comment begins as follows:

“One reason Barack Obama might not want to talk about the role of financially irresponsible bank board members in creating the subprime mortgage foreclosure financial disaster is that the national finance chair of Obama’s campaign, Penny Pritzker, is a former board member of the failed Superior Bank S&L that engaged in irresponsible subprime mortgage lending during the 1990s.”

Apparently Penny was into subprime lending before it became all the rage starting in around 2000. It continues:

“Penny Prtizker’s chairmanship was apparently “to concentrate on subprimelending, principally on home mortgages, but for a while in subprime auto lending, too,” after the Pritzkers’ bank acquired its wholesale mortgage organization division, Alliance Funding, in December 1992.”

Back then they called it “predatory lending.” You also should check out this article in The Nation by Max Fraser:

“As the subprime mortgage debacle drives a recession that threatens financial markets around the world, the Democratic presidential candidates are pushing plans to address the crisis. John Edwards and Hillary Clinton are pledging substantial federal resources to stabilize the mortgage market and intervene on behalf of borrowers. Barack Obama’s proposal is tepid by comparison, short on aggressive government involvement and infused with conservative rhetoric about fiscal responsibility. As he has done on domestic issues like healthcare, job creation and energy policy, Obama is staking out a position to the right of not only populist Edwards but Clinton as well.

Only Obama has not called for a moratorium and interest-rate freeze. Though he has been a proponent of mortgage fraud legislation in the Senate, he has remained silent on further financial regulations. And much like his broader economic stimulus package, Obama’s foreclosure plan mostly avoids direct government spending in favor of a tax credit for homeowners, which amounts to about $500 on average, beyond which only certain borrowers would be eligible for help from an additional fund.

Robert Pollin, an economist at the University of Massachussets, believes “these three advisers generally reflect Obama’s very moderate economic program, similar to Clintonism.” Wall Street apparently has come to a similar conclusion. Obama had received nearly $10 million in contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate sector through October, and he’s second among presidential candidates of either party in money raised from commercial banks, trailing only Clinton. Goldman Sachs, which made $6 billion from devalued mortgage securities in the first nine months of 2007, is Obama’s top contributor. When asked if Obama would hold these financial institutions accountable for losses incurred by homeowners and investors, his campaign refused to comment.”

Dig a little and see what else you find, and leave your comments below…I’m really interested in your take on all these “coincidences”.


2 Responses

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  1. FYI … the site you reference in the article is “”, not “”.


    Friday, August 1, 2008 at 6:19:35 PM

  2. Thanks, Ron! Corrected.


    Friday, August 1, 2008 at 9:54:00 PM

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