- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2013

Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker, who ran President Obama’s campaign fundraising operation in 2008 and was criticized for her role in a bank failure, is under consideration to serve as Commerce secretary.

Ms. Pritzker is an owner of the Hyatt hotel chain and founder of Pritzker Realty Group. Her net worth is estimated at $1.8 billion.

Although Ms. Pritzker is a leading contender for the job at Commerce, Mr. Obama has not made a final decision, the Chicago Tribune reported.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, while Mr. Obama was railing against the reckless lending practices of big banks, Ms. Pritzker came under fire for her role in the failure of Superior Bank. As a top official of the Chicago-area bank, she advocated subprime lending before it collapsed in part from bad loans. The Treasury Department shut down Superior in 2001.

The Obama campaign said Ms. Pritzker was never accused of any wrongdoing and didn’t receive compensation related to the bank’s closing. The Pritzker family agreed to pay the government $460 million to defray its losses covered by taxpayers.

Ms. Pritzker served as a member of the president’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which was disbanded last week. She also served on the president’s economic recovery advisory board.

In last year’s presidential campaign, Ms. Pritzker was a mega-bundler for Mr. Obama, raising more than $500,000 for his re-election.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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