The Pritzker Family: Interlock and Gleichschaltung


By Not Sure

23 July 2023


Foundations: Their Power and Influence.  Chapter 3, “The Concentration of Power.”


            United States House Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations.  That’s a mouthful, and why this came to be known by the name of the congressmen who chaired it.  In 1952, it was chaired by Edward M. Cox and was known as the Cox Committee.  Unhappy with the conclusions of the Cox Committee, B. Carroll Reece pushed for a continuation of the investigation into foundations, and this was called the Reece Committee.  The committee’s chief investigator was former banker, Norman Dodd, and his findings were presented to the U.S. Congress as the Dodd Report.  Dodd called the machinations of foundations “subversive,” and stated that he meant by that term, “Any action having as its purpose the alteration of either the principle or the form of the United States Government by other than constitutional means.”  He argued that the funding of large institutions such as Harvard, University of Chicago, and University of California, by foundations such as Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Endowment, existed to enable oligarchical collectivism.

            The Reece Committee staff was headed by New York tax attorney, Rene A. Wormser, who believed that the work they accomplished was of great importance, but more needed to be investigated and exposed.  He continued researching this, and in 1958 published Foundations: Their Power and Influence. 

            The Cox Committee had been alarmed by the geographic concentration of power; foundation trustees were concentrated on the Eastern Seaboard.  Wormser believed that by focusing on geography, the Cox Committee had “completely missed the point.”  Enormous concentration of power could be maintained by what Wormser referred to as “interlocks.”  What mattered was “that a pattern of interlocking operations existed at various levels of management.”  It was clear enough that foundation trustees often held multiple trustee positions and were sometimes simultaneously trustees of grant-making and grant-receiving institutions.  But what most troubled Wormser was that “They can operate to force our culture into a uniform pattern.”  He later wrote, “Their independent, uncontrolled financial power often enables foundations to exert a decisive influence on public affairs.”


            Interlock amongst the trustees of the Aspen Institute exists and some examples of that can be seen at a glance, but with 73 trustees, the work involved in creating a database and charting the interlock is beyond the limits of my time.  I decided to focus my attention on establishing how many of the trustees were also members of the Council on Foreign Relations.  Fifteen trustees are members of the CFR.  The chairwoman of the Aspen Institute is not a CFR member, but her husband is, and her husband’s cousin.  Katie Albright is not a CFR member, but her sister Alice is.  Katie is also the daughter of the late Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under Bill Clinton.  Remember?  The one who said she thought the deaths of half a million Iraqi children caused by sanctions were “worth it.”


            Alan Watt often referred to the Council on Foreign Relations as the “American branch” of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House.)  Considering that at least eleven of the Institute’s trustees are not American, that reduces the number of trustees eligible for the CFR to sixty-two.  Fifteen trustees of the Aspen Institute are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations and an additional two trustees have at least one family member who belongs to the CFR.  Nearly a quarter of those Trustees eligible to belong to the Council on Foreign Relations hold CFR memberships.

            The Trilateral Commission (TC) has a more international blend of members.  Trustee Jane Harman is a CFR member and a member of the Trilateral Commission.  Two other Institute trustees are members of the TC, including James Manyika, a Zimbabwean-American academic and business executive, Google’s first Senior Vice-President of Technology and Society, who reports directly to Google’s CEO, Sundar Pachai.


            This is how the Aspen Institute describes its trustees:


The Board of Trustees is made up of high-level individuals from the public and private sectors who have been elected by a majority of the membership of the board. The board is responsible for providing counsel to the President, as well as governance over the business, affairs, and property of the Aspen Institute. The board meets three times per year and its ten standing committees meet regularly to discuss, in depth, the key issues facing the organization.


            Several of the trustees are also members of The Aspen Strategy Group (ASG,) including the CFR/Trilateral, Jane Harman.  This is made up of forty-four people and anyone with a little knowledge of American politics will recognize many of the names.  Here are a few:  Brent Scowcroft, Condoleezza Rice, Mark T. Esper, Dianne Feinstein, Robert Gates, Sam Nunn, David Petraeus, Lawrence H. Summers, Philip Zelikow (9/11 Commission.)  From the world of banking:  Thomas E. Donilon (BlackRock) and David M. Rubenstein. 


Of the 44 members of ASG, 37 are CFR members.  That forced me to dig a bit deeper into the seven members who lacked CFR membership:


Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft – Co-founded Aspen Strategy Group in 1984 with Joseph Nye and Bill Perry.  Various appointments in the National Security Affairs (NSA.)

Christian Brose – Speechwriter for Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell.  Policy advisor to John McCain.

Chris Coons – U.S. Senator, specialist in U.S. policy in Africa.

Peter Feavers – Academic -- foreign policy, nuclear proliferation, cybersecurity.

Robert Gates – Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, retained by Barack Obama.  Director of Central Intelligence (CIA.)  Partner in consulting firm with Condoleezza Rice.

Susan Glasser – Staff writer at New Yorker Magazine, founded POLITICO Magazine, formerly editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy.

Kay Hutchison – Formerly U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO in Brussels, U.S. Senator representing Texas, 1993-2013.




            Let’s return to the Chairwoman and trustee of the Aspen Institute who is not a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  Margot L. Pritzker was elected to the Board in 2004 and has served the Institute in several leadership positions.  She was the chair of the Leadership Committee and served on the Executive Committee.  She is a seminar moderator for the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

            Margot is the wife of Thomas Pritzker, a billionaire, and the CEO of the Pritzker Organization, which manages the various Pritzker family assets.  He is also chairman of Hyatt Hotels Corporation.  Thomas Pritzker is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group.  (For “interlock” there is also Trustee Mark Hoplamazian, the CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation.) 

            Thomas Pritzker’s cousin is Penny Pritzker, a billionaire businesswoman who was secretary of commerce under Barack Obama.  She is on the board of Microsoft, the chair of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and was involved in Chicago organizations, including the Chicago Department of Education, before her participation in national politics.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Aspen Strategy Group.  She is the sister of the current governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker.

            J.B. Pritzker has been instrumental in the formation of what is known as the Urban 7, which fosters cities to form leagues, one goal being the fulfillment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  The Chicago Council on Global Affairs (CCGA) is part of the process of localizing globalization.   The CCGA’s Forum on Global Cities has now been renamed the Pritzker Forum on Global Cities.

            The relationship between the Pritzker family and Barack Obama goes back many years and their support was key in his rise to power.  Like a debutante at a ball, Obama was groomed and presented to the world at the Aspen Institute, when he was interviewed by Walter Isaacson in 2005.  Obama’s 2006 book The Audacity of Hope was heavily promoted, as a little-known Illinois politician was being prepared to take the world stage.


            Thomas and J.B. and Penny Pritzker have a cousin named Jennifer.   Jennifer Pritzker is retired from the Illinois Army National Guard and is an inventor and a philanthropist.  Born James Nicholas Pritzker in 1950, J.N. underwent an official name change in 2013 to publicly reflect “the beliefs of her true identity.”  Jennifer Pritzker has been defined as the world’s first transgender billionaire.

            Journalist Jennifer Bilek does not like the term “transgenderism” as she thinks it is “no clear boundaries.”  She has opted to use the term Synthetic Sex Identities (SSI.)  Bilek has shown how some of the philanthropic gifts from the Pritzker family (among many other foundations,) to recipients in the “techno-medical” complex have contributed to the expanding list of SSI “language reforms” and the rapid normalization of “gender affirming care” within the medical and research institutions.





            Gleichschaltung is a compound German word from gleich (same) and schaltung (circuit.)  This was a Nazi term for the coordination process of Nazification that allowed Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party to take totalitarian control over all aspects of society “from the economy and trade associations to the media, culture and education.”

            In Foundations: Their Power and Influence, Rene Wormser wrote (in 1958,) “What is wrong is permitting any Gleichschaltung or even the appearance of it.  Anything in the nature of a cartel-like coordination in education and in such vital fields as foreign relations and the social science studies…endanger[s] the freedom of our intellectual and public life.  The emergence of this special class in our society, endowed with immense powers of thought control, is a factor which must be taken into account in judging the merits of contemporary foundation operations.  The concentration of power, or interlock, which has developed in foundation-supported social-science research and social-science education is largely the result f a capture of the integrated organizations by like-minded men.  The plain, simple fact is that the so-called ‘liberal’ foundation movement in the United States has captured most of the major foundations and has done so chiefly through the professional administrator class, which has not hesitated to use these great public trust funds to political ends and with bias.” (emphasis Wormer’s.)


            Are we there yet?


© Not Sure


Additional reading:


The Billionaire Family Pushing Synthetic Sex Identities (SSI)


Meet the Urban 7, the bridge from ‘global cities’ to world-governance policy circles


Council on Foreign Relations – membership roster