Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty stepped down from his position as co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign after accepting an offer to become the CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group representing 100 financial institutions, including Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC).
The position, which Pawlenty will assume Nov. 1, is arguably one of the most lucrative in Washington. Pawlenty’s predecessor at the post, former Texas Rep. Steve Barlett, received an annual salary of $1.8 million.
Before joining the Romney campaign, Pawlenty took his own shot at the White House, dropping out before the Republican primaries after placing third in an Iowa straw poll.
In August, Pawlenty’s name was floated alongside Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as likely contenders for the GOP vice presidential nomination. Romney ultimately tapped Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan for the ticket.
Since then, speculation has swirled that Pawlenty would play a major role in a potential Romney Administration, but this latest development has quashed that possibility. A spokeswoman for the Financial Services Roundtable says the group secured a promise from Pawlenty that he wouldn’t accept a position in Romney’s cabinet before offering him the job, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Pawlenty, who warned Wall Street to “get (its) snout out of the trough” during his aborted run for the presidency, distanced himself from those comments following the announcement of his new position.
“Obviously, I was one of the voices saying we need to fix the problems,” the former governor said Thursday. “Now we just need to make sure they don’t overreach and stifle economic investment and job growth.”
The Financial Services Roundtable’s current focus is the repeal or reformation of the Dodd-Frank Act, the financial industry reform passed by Congress in 2010.
— Ryan Hauck, InvestorPlace
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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