Penny Pritzker

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5Person.png Penny Pritzker   WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(billionaire, businesswoman, deep state actor?)
Penny Pritzker.jpg
BornPenny Sue Pritzker
2 May 1959
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Alma materHarvard University, Stanford University
SpouseBryan Traubert
Member ofAspen Strategy Group, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Council on Foreign Relations/Members 3, Pritzker family
Pritzker family billionaire who advanced career of Barack Obama early. Carnegie Endowment chairperson.

Employment.png United States Secretary of Commerce

In office
June 26, 2013 - January 20, 2017

Penny Sue Pritzker is an Jewish-American billionaire businesswoman and member of one of the richest families in the country. Her family early identified and furthered the political career of a young Barack Obama. Pritzker was also United States Secretary of Commerce.[1] during the Obama administration.

In February 2018, Pritzker was elected to succeed Harvey V. Fineberg as chairperson of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, taking effect May 2018.[2]


Penny Pritzker is the daughter of Sue (née Sandel) and Donald Pritzker, a member of the Pritzker family of Chicago, a wealthy and influential, but obsessively private[3], business family, worth $15 billion. Her grandfather Abram Nicholas Pritzker started the family fortune, officially through a series of successful leveraged buyout real estate investments in Prohibition-era Chicago. Her father, Donald, helped in establishing the chain of Hyatt Hotels.

The family fortune was held in a vast network of domestic and foreign trusts designed to minimize, if not eliminate, taxes, intended to grow and be handed down from one generation to the next. The funds had generous grandfather clauses (i.e. the tax dodge is not available for new users) that protect assets accumulating in offshore accounts[3].

Dennis Bernstein wrote in 2013: "The Pritzkers are like America’s Rothschilds", noting "they managed to build and pass along … Brobdingnagian wealth from one generation to the next and the next."[4] A series of inheritance lawsuit in the early 2000s split up the fortune somewhat. In the process she became estranged from her two brothers.

Penny Pritzker's brother, J. B. Pritzker, became Governor of Illinois in 2019. Her sibling Jennifer Pritzker is a major champion of transexual causes.

She is the founder of PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group.[5] She is also co-founder of Artemis Real Estate Partners.[6]

In 2012, Chicago magazine named her one of the 100 most powerful Chicagoans.[7] In October 2015, Forbes estimated her net worth at US $2.4 billion. In 2009, Forbes named Pritzker one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.[8]

Pritzker and Obama

Pritzker's patronage of Barack Obama and his family dates back to the 1990s when he was a professor at the University of Chicago.[9] Obama and his family were frequent guests at Pritzker's Lake Michigan vacation home.[9][10]

Greg Palast wrote that "In 2001, the federal government fined her and her family $460 million for the predatory, deceitful, racist tactics and practices of Superior, the bank-and-loan-shark operation she ran on the South Side of Chicago. Superior was the first of the deregulated go-go banks to go bust – at the time, the costliest failure ever. US taxpayers lost nearly half a billion dollars. Superior’s depositors lost millions and poor folk in Sen. Obama’s South Side district lost their homes. Penny did not like paying $460 million. No, not one bit. What she needed was someone to give her Hope and Change. She hoped someone would change the banking regulators and the Commerce Department so she could get away with this crap."[11]

Pritzker continued aiding Obama's political career, helping to finance his 2004 Senate campaign. Early in the Democratic presidential primary, Pritzker's money helped Obama's candidacy survive when Obama was trailing Hillary Clinton in the polls.[10] Pritzker introduced Obama, the new state senator, to the Ladies Who Lunch (very rich women) on Chicago’s Gold Coast. Obama got lunch, gold and importantly – an introduction to Robert Rubin, former Secretary of the Treasury, former chairman of Goldman Sachs and former co-chairman of Citibank.[11]

Pritzker was the national finance chair of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.[12] Extraordinarily for a Democrat, Obama in 2008 raised three times as much from bankers as his Republican opponent.[11] She hosted lavish fundraisers as part of her effort to raise money.[13]

Following Obama's victory in the 2008 presidential election, CNN reported that Pritzker was president-elect Obama's top choice for Commerce Secretary.[14] However, Pritzker took herself out of the running.[15][16][17] According to the Chicago Tribune, she withdrew her name from consideration "due to obligations to her family, for whom she was still overseeing billions in assets, and the financial crisis, which was putting some of those assets at risk".[18]

Pritzker was a member of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. She also was on the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Although she was less active in the 2012 Obama campaign than she had been four years prior,[10] she was national co-chair of Obama for America 2012.[12] She was also on the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations,deciding the direction of US foreign policy[19][20].

Secretary of Commerce

Pritzker with President Barack Obama and Mike Froman in the Oval Office, May 2, 2013

Pritzker was nominated as United States Secretary of Commerce by President Barack Obama on May 2, 2013.[21][22] To avoid conflicts of interest, Pritzker agreed to sell her interest in at least 221 companies and resign from 158 entities, including the Hyatt Board of Directors and the Chicago Board of Education. In November 2017, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism released the "Paradise Papers," documents related to offshore services and tax havens, and alleged that Pritzker transferred her shares of two of her holdings to her children rather than selling them, as she had indicated on ethics forms.[23][24] Pritzker responded with a statement saying that she had complied with the rules and regulations.[25][26][27][28] Pritzker was sworn in as Secretary on June 26, 2013.[29]

Among Pritzker's priorities was the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement that would have been the "largest regional trade agreement in history".[30] Pritzker supported the TPP as a way to provide market access to U.S. businesses and as a way for the U.S. to set the standards for trade.[30] Leading up the 2016 presidential election, in which both major party candidates openly opposed the TPP, Pritzker and other Obama officials continued to push for the TPP's passage in Congress.[31] Ultimately, Congress failed to pass the TPP bill.[32]

Pritzker named a Digital Economy Board of Advisors, which included tech industry CEOs and academics, to advise on policy. Pritzker also expanded the IP attache program, which helps the tech industry protect their intellectual property abroad.[33] As secretary, Pritzker also created the Commerce Data Advisory Council to identify priorities for the Department of Commerce, a prolific publisher of data intended to allow businesses to plan and innovate.[34] Pritzker was the lead negotiator for the United States in the E.U.–U.S. Privacy Shield, an agreement governing how companies transfer digital data from Europe to the United States.[35]

Following President Obama's announcement that the United States would move towards normalizing relations with Cuba, Pritzker traveled to Cuba.[36] Although Obama's change in policy did not end the U.S. trade embargo, since ending the embargo required an act of Congress, Pritzker met with Cuban trade ministers and other officials to discuss the changing relationship between the two countries and to lay the groundwork for more economic involvement.[36][37]

Following her tenure as Secretary, Pritzker returned to PSP and the private sector.[32]

Civic and philanthropic activities

Pritzker is involved in public education. She was a member of the Chicago Board of Education and is past chair of the Chicago Public Education Fund.[38] Pritzker was elected to a six-year term on the Harvard Board of Overseers in 2002. In 2018, she was elected to the President and Fellows of Harvard College, which oversees Harvard University.[39] Pritzker was Advisory Board Chair of Skills for America's Future (SAF), a policy initiative of the Aspen Institute.[40] Pritzker is a former chair of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.[41]

Pritzker and her husband, Bryan Traubert, have their own foundation called the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation. The foundation focuses on physical activity for young people and increasing economic opportunity in Chicago.[42]

In February 2018, Pritzker was elected to succeed Harvey V. Fineberg as chairperson of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, taking effect May 2018.[43]

In March 2020, Pritzer set up the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, to assist non-profit organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, after receiving a call from her brother, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker. The siblings announced the creation of the fund with $23 million in start up money on March 24, 2020, six days after Governor Pritzker's request. Pritzker and her husband contributed $1.5 million of the initial sum.[44][45]

External links


Events Participated in

WEF/Annual Meeting/201225 January 201229 January 2012World Economic Forum
2113 guests in Davos
WEF/Annual Meeting/201323 January 201327 January 2013World Economic Forum
2500 mostly unelected leaders met to discuss "leading through adversity"
WEF/Annual Meeting/201422 January 201425 January 2014World Economic Forum
2604 guests in Davos considered "Reshaping The World"
WEF/Annual Meeting/201521 January 201524 January 2015World Economic Forum
Attended by a lot of people. This page lists only the 261 "Public Figures".
WEF/Annual Meeting/201620 January 201623 January 2016World Economic Forum
Attended by a lot of people, both leaders and followers
WEF/Annual Meeting/201922 January 201925 January 2019World Economic Forum
WEF/Annual Meeting/202021 January 202024 January 2020World Economic Forum
This mega-summit of the world's ruling class and their political and media appendages happens every year, but 2020 was special, as the continuous corporate media coverage of COVID-19 started more or less from one day to the next on 20/21 January 2020, coinciding with the start of the meeting.


5star.png 10 October 2021 Terje 


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  21. Sweet, Lynn (May 2, 2013) "Obama nominates Chicago exec Penny Pritzker as commerce secretary" Archived June 18, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
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