Today President Obama nominated “friend” and fellow Chicagoan Penny Pritzker as Commerce Secretary, a post that has not been filled since June 2012.

In doing so he has gifted one of his top fundraisers (and one of the heirs to the Hyatt chain) with a title, perhaps in exchange for her superior rainmaking abilities for his 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Pritzker, who was the national finance chair for his 2008 campaign and co-chaired his 2012 reelection campaign, was also partner of the former Superior Bank, which “specialized in sub-prime lending.” Pritzker also was a former school board member in Chicago.

The choice is unsurprising for a president who, now out of campaign mode, is in returning-favor mode. Let’s hope that Pritzker keeps her nose out of commerce as much as possible if her tenure at Superior is any judge. Her bank’s strategy was best described by the Office of Thrift Supervision:

Superior Bank suffered as a result of its former high-risk business strategy, which was focused on the generation of significant volumes of subprime mortgage and automobile loans for securitization and sale in the secondary market. OTS found that the bank also suffered from poor lending practices, improper record keeping and accounting, and ineffective board and management supervision

What this means for the rest of America, as another Chicagoan blights the White House, is that our seedy scene is once again your seedy scene.


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