Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (D) has thrown his support behind Penny Pritzker for U.S. Secretary of Commerce. After meeting with Pritzker last week, Durbin told the Chicago Tribune she would make an “outstanding” Cabinet secretary, and he would do everything he could to advance her nomination.
Given big labor’s opposition to Pritzker, the heiress of the Hyatt Hotel chain, a common target of UNITE Local unions across the country, and the failure of her family’s Superior Bank, his support of Pritzker to Commerce may prove troubling for a large contingent of his supporters.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday that Cathy Youngblood, a Hyatt housekeeper who has led a national campaign to elect a hotel worker to Hyatt’s Board of Directors said, “The Commerce Secretary’s first concern should be to create good, family sustaining jobs for all Americans. Under Pritzker’s direction, Hyatt has led the hotel industry in a race to the bottom by aggressively subcontracting out career hotel jobs to minimum wage temps. This is not the model that will lead our country to a bright economic future.”
Durbin, who rallied with trade unionists just a few weeks ago on May Day, appears to not only be breaking ranks with his allies on the radical left, but is also abandoning those he most publicly claims to advocate for, “the middle class.”
One of Pritzker’s largest looming hurdles to confirmation is the failure of her family’s subprime-lending Superior Bank, which cost as many as 1400 average everyday people from senior citizens to veterans alike, over $10 million of their hard earned savings, which, to this day, has still not been repaid by the mulit-billionaire family.
An FDIC report stated, “The failure of Superior Bank was directly attributable to the board of directors and executive management ignoring sound risk diversification principles as evidenced by excessive concentrations in residual assets related to subprime lending.”
A letter sent by Pritzker to the bank’s employees and managers just two months before its failure indicated that she was, in fact, still playing a major role running the bank, and doubled down on its losing subprime-lending strategies.
Despite Pritzker’s colossal failure to keep Superior afloat, which cost trusting depositors their life savings, Durbin released the following statement on her nomination, touting her excellence in business:
“In the world of business Penny Pritzker has broken through the glass ceiling with her extraordinary intelligence and business acumen. I believe Penny will bring a new perspective to a Department that is charged with leading America forward in business growth and job creation. I look forward to supporting her nomination and working closely with her in this important assignment.”
On the surface, Durbin backing the President’s choice, Pritzker for Commerce, does not come as a surprise.
However, given hostility from Big Labor, plus her failure at Superior Bank–which cost taxpayers and depositors roughly $296 million, while investors including the Pritzkers walked away with as much as $200 million after a “sweetheart” settlement deal with the FDIC–Durbin’s base of support might be left wondering who he is really out there fighting for?