by Rebel Pundit
Secretary of Commerce nominee Penny Pritzker coasted through her Senate Commerce Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C. Thursday.
Members of both parties on the committee largely ignored Pritzker’s questionable business practices, offshore investments, and tax problems, as well as the problematic history of her family’s failed subprime-lending Superior Bank, which has left hundreds senior citizens and veterans without their life savings.
Pritzker also has a history of opposition from labor unions that have been outspoken against hiring practices and treatment of employees by her family’s Hyatt Hotel chain. That history was also glossed over in the hearing.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) was initially “uncertain” about supporting Pritzker up until three days before the hearing. However, Pritzker’s confirmation was likely guaranteed after Kirk joined his fellow Senator from Illinois, Democrat Dick Durbin, in both supporting and introducing Pritzker.
Kirk, who suffered a severe stroke last year, struggled through a very brief introduction of Pritzker he delivered at this morning’s hearings and warned fellow Republicans, “I will be whipping each one of you on behalf of Penny Pritzker’s nomination.”
While the baggage Pritzker carries arose in the news early on in during President Obama’s first term, forcing Pritzker to remove herself from consideration for the position at that time, it was business as usual in Washington today, as she underwent what mostly amounted to lay-up questions from Republicans and Democrats alike.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) did ask Pritzker about her family’s failed venture into the subprime lending market and the tremendous losses that depositors incurred. Pritzker delivered a vague response, and ultimately failed to demonstrate that she or her family bear any responsibility in making sure the everyday Americans who entrusted their life savings with the bank will be made whole:
Thune: What do you have to say to those depositors who lost significant sums of money because of this venture and what lessons did you learn from your experience at Superior Bank that will inform your role if you are confirmed?
Pritzker: Well, Senator, I regret the failure of Superior Bank, it’s not an outcome or a situation, that I’m, you know, I feel very badly about that. The lessons that I learned are realy about good management, good governance structure, the importance of diversification and risk management, transparency and good governance.