Republicans play nice with Pritzker
And here we thought Senate Republicans were sharpening their knives for Penny Pritzker, the billionaire hotel and real-estate magnate who President Obama nominated to be his Commerce Secretary. But during her first Capitol Hill hearing on Thursday, they seemed to have donned kid gloves just for the occasion.
The session at the Senate Commerce Committee was downright nice, with so many “I-look-forward-to-working-with-you”s and the like that you’d swear that they, well, looked forward to working with her.
Sure, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) pressed her about a touchy topic for her, the failure in the 1990s of Superior Bank, which her family co-owned.
But for the most part, it was a quite affable affair.Continue reading this post »
Hunting gators with Sen. David Vitter
Most folks think being “up to your neck in alligators” is not a good thing. But a super PAC supporting Sen. David Vitter ( R-La.) thinks it’s an excellent fun time, worth $5,000 a person.
Yes, it’s a “Louisiana Bayou Weekend” alligator hunt and “airboat swamp tour” Sept. 5-7, our invitation says, “with special guest David Vitter.”Continue reading this post »
Mitch McConnell drops a literary reference
Our pals at the Fix have likened the scandal surrounding the IRS to “The Simpsons,” and its smart-alek 10-year-old protagonist, Bart Simpson.
But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had a much higher-brow comparison to make on Thursday. The Kentucky Republican said the embattled agency’s inner workings were the stuff of Franz Kafka’s novels.
Kafka, as lit buffs know, is famous for portrayals of inflexible, nightmarish bureaucracies. In fact, the word “Kafkaesque” is often used to describe something that’s needlessly complex and labyrinthine.
And so, the Loop’s quote of the week: “This is an agency that’s basically a euphemism for mind-numbing bureaucracy — The kind of place where you’d assume nobody does much of anything without signatures and counter-signatures from section chiefs, and sub-section chiefs, and deputy office heads, and secondary assistant deputy sub-associate directors,” McConnell said during a speech on the Senate floor. “Sort of like a Kafka novel without the laughs.”
White House may name Katherine Archuleta to head OPM
Latino groups might have groused about the lack of representation on President Obama’s second-term cabinet, but they might find a little consolation. We hear Obama plans to name Katherine Archuleta, his campaign’s former national political director, to head the Office of Personnel Management.
Archuleta is a former staffer for former Denver mayor Federico Pena , and she was chief of staff to former Labor secretary Hilda Solis before joining the Obama campaign.
OPM director isn’t a cabinet-level job, but the agency is a high-visibility one overseeing the government’s H.R. functions, which are complicated by sequestration-related furloughs and tightening budgets.
Both of the Hispanics serving in Obama’s first term — Solis and former Interior secretary Ken Salazar — have left, and Obama has only one Latino nominee pending, Tom Perez for Labor secretary.
If confirmed, Archuleta will replace former OPM director John Berry, whose term expired last month.Continue reading this post »
Obama nominee Penny Pritzker’s $80 million mistake
Hey, these things happen: Penny Pritzker, President Obama’s nominee to lead the Commerce Department, understated her income by some $80 million and had to file a correction to her government-filed disclosures, Bloomberg is reporting.
That might sound like a lot of money, but it’s all relative. Pritzker, whose family founded the Hyatt hotel chain, is worth about $1.5 billion. So it’s easy to see how a few million — or 80 — could go missing.
Maybe she left it in the other purse?
A spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the $80 million was “a substantial amount” and that Pritzker’s advisers corrected the error as soon as they realized it.
Per Bloomberg: “Documents released last week show Pritzker received $32.2 million for a decade’s worth of consulting on the restructuring of domestic trusts,” but new filings indicated she made at least $80 million more than that.