President Barack Obama announces that he will nominate Penny Pritzker (R) for Commerce Secretary and Mike Froman for trade representative in the Rose Garden at the White House May 2, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Both Penny Pritzker and Michael Froman have close ties to President Obama. Pritzker was national finance chair for the president's first presidential campaign. She broke fundraising records then -- raising almost $750 million for the president. She was co-chair for his 2012 campaign. Pritzker is also an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, and she also runs her own real estate and investment companies. 

Michael Froman is currently the White House’s chief international economic affairs adviser. He went to Harvard Law School with the president. They’ve known each other since their days at the Harvard Law Review. He’s also raised some money for President Obama. He was a bundler in the 2008 campaign , raising at least $200,000.

Both of these nominees would have to be confirmed by the Senate, and could face some challenges in their confirmation hearings.  Pritzker is on the board of the Hyatt Hotel Corp. The Unite Here labor union is upset about Hyatt’s failure to reach a new contract with its workers. Michael Froman is a former executive at Citibank, which got a government bailout during the financial crisis. 

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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