Top Hillary Funder Previously Scrutinized By Muslim Groups for Racial Stereotyping

Hillary warns against such rhetoric on campaign trail

Hillary Rodham Clinton, J.B. Pritzker
Hillary Clinton speaks as J.B. Pritzker looks on at the Economic Club of Chicago in 2014 / AP

Hillary Clinton, who consistently rails against the use of "offensive" and "dangerous" rhetoric on Muslims on the campaign trail, recently attended a ritzy fundraiser held by a major campaign bundler and generous funder of Clinton causes who came under fire in the past for racially stereotyping Muslims during a failed congressional run.

J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire venture capitalist who runs the Chicago-based Pritzker Group, opened the doors of his home to a packed house of deep-pocketed Democratic donors to provide them with an up-close experience with the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Pritzker is the heir to the Hyatt family fortune, which is valued at $3.4 billion, and also operates the Pritzker Family Foundation, a charitable organization he runs along with his wife M.K Pritzker.

Just before rubbing elbows with the wealthy attendees at the soiree, Clinton was publicly condemning inflammatory rhetoric towards Muslims. However, Pritzker himself previously came under scrutiny himself for racially stereotyping Muslims while running for Congress in the late 1990s.

When Pritzker ran in the Democratic primary for the U.S House in Illinois’ 9th congressional district in 1998, one of his primary opponents, State Sen. Howard Carroll, attended a fundraiser Pritzker claimed was sponsored by the American Muslim Council.

Pritzker said that the group supported terrorist organization Hamas.

The fundraiser was sponsored by the Indian American Forum for Political Education, which is not a Muslim group. Additionally, numerous groups were represented at the dinner including Muslim, Hindu, Christian, and others, according to news reports at the time.

The accusation led Chicago Muslim groups to say that Pritzker was racially stereotyping Muslims. Carroll demanded an apology from Pritzker.

"Mr. Pritzker is blind to the miracle of what has happened in the 9th Congressional District and cannot see that Muslims have joined together in support of a Jew," Moin Kahn, a local representative for the American Muslim Council, said of Pritzker during the ordeal. "We are as American as the Sears Tower or the John Hancock Buildings … and none of our money came from Hamas."

Hillary has cautioned against politicians using such rhetoric on the campaign trail by saying it is "not keeping in with our values."

"I think it's important that we hear these voices, not just the hot rhetoric and the demagoguery that I think is either not useful or reflective of who we are as a people," Clinton said at the University of Southern California. "It is not only often offensive, but dangerous."

"We cannot allow our nation to be pitting groups of people against one another, we cannot give in to panic and fear," she added.

The Pritzkers have been ardent backers of the Clintons for some time now, having poured millions of dollars into their campaigns, causes, and initiatives throughout the years.

Since 1995, the Pritzkers have contributed thousands to Clinton political campaigns and to HILLPAC, the leadership PAC Hillary operated during her time in the Senate

The Pritzkers have added between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation and between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Health Access Initiative through the Pritzker Family Foundation. They have made two commitments to the Clinton Global Initiative that total $1.3 million.

When J.B. was a bundler for Hillary’s presidential campaign in 2008, he was tapped as chairman of Citizens for Hillary as his wife was placed on Clinton’s National Council of Civic Leaders.

The Pritzkers sponsored the second annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in 2012. The next year, in 2013, J.B was named to the leadership council of the Too Small To Fail initiative, an initiative that was created by the Clinton Foundation.

J.B. Pritzker continued his generous donations in September 2015 by giving more than $350,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising partnership between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and 33 state Democratic parties, while M.K Pritzker provided $330,000 to the committee.

The fund is intended to help state Democratic parties in addition to the Clinton campaign and DNC.

However, despite its intended purpose, an overwhelming majority of the money contributed from HVF to the state Democratic parties ultimately ends up in the DNC’s coffers, leaving practically no funding from the committee for the state parties.

J.B. and M.K. Pritzker are both currently bundlers for Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign. The campaign did not return a request for comment by press time.