Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

Billionaire Commerce Secretary Nominee Gets a Free Pass

President Barack Obama’s nominee for Commerce secretary got a free pass from the political powers in the U. S. Senate today as the nominee was confirmed (97-1) without a serious confrontation or many questions about extensive political contributions and fundraising efforts.

Both parties have given passes to most of each other’s Commerce secretary nominees in the past. Even this year, when the economy is so fragile and the business community is being called upon to boost employment and drive the nation forward, the Commerce secretary position is apparently still just a fundraiser’s reward. Washington hasn’t seemed to change much.

Penny Pritzker, billionaire executive of the Pritzker Realty Group and Hyatt Development Corp., has been a regular and consistent Democratic donor and fundraiser over the years, although she has laid low this year as her nomination was pending. Only two contributions have been reported — a $2,500 contribution to Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and a $5,000 contribution to the Real Estate Roundtable PAC. In the 2012 election, she co-chaired Obama’s financial team. In the 2008 election, she was the national finance chairwoman.

In the 2011-2012 cycle, thirty contributions were reported totaling $118,842. These included contributions to Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and a slew of Democratic senators. From 1979 to the present, there are 308 contributions listed at the Federal Election Commission, totaling $768,804.

Use Political MoneyLine’s Donor Search to look for “Pritzker, Penny” and her campaign contributions from 1979 to the present.

To search detailed money-in-politics databases, visit Political MoneyLine.

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