POLITICS

Tim Pawlenty Becomes Bank Lobbyist, Steps Down As Mitt Romney's National Co-Chair

In this June 16, 2012, photo, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, left, stands with Republican presidential candidate, former
In this June 16, 2012, photo, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, left, stands with Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during a campaign stop at campaign stop at Cornwall Iron Furnace in Cornwall, Penn. President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies aren't waiting for Romney to reveal his vice presidential choice. They're already trying to scuff up those considered by political insiders to be most likely to join the GOP ticket. The president’s campaign started swinging at the potential Republican running mates, including Pawlenty, this week while urging home-state Democrats to chime in about the shortcomings (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, one of Mitt Romney's most reliable surrogates, is stepping down as national co-chair of the GOP presidential nominee's campaign and taking a lucrative job on K Street.

On Thursday, the Financial Services Roundtable announced that Pawlenty would be coming on as the Wall Street lobbying group's CEO.

"My time in public service was rewarding and focused on achieving results," Pawlenty said in a statement. "I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve, but I am now moving on and committed to focusing fully on this new opportunity."

According to the Hill, the salary for the position can reach over $1 million. Pawlenty's move comes just 47 days before the election. Romney vetted Pawlenty for his running mate, but ultimately went with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

"Tim Pawlenty is a dear friend," Romney said in a statement. “He's brought energy, intelligence and tireless dedication to every enterprise in which he's ever been engaged, and that certainly includes my presidential campaign. While I regret he cannot continue as co-chair of my campaign, his new position advancing the integrity of our financial system is vital to the future of our country. I congratulate him on his new position and wish him every success in carrying out his new mission."

Pawlenty said that his new job doesn't allow him to participate in partisan campaign activities, which is why he is stepping down.

"My work with Mitt has been a privilege," he said. "Mitt Romney is a truly good man and great leader. As the campaign moves into the home stretch, he has my full support and continued faith in his vision and his policies."

The Financial Services Roundtable was a key player in the debate over financial reform, and the industry is now pushing to repeal much of the Dodd-Frank legislation.

Pawlenty has often boasted about his courage in speaking out against the excesses of Wall Street, once comparing those in the financial industry to pigs in a trough. In a June 8, 2011 interview with Bloomberg, Pawlenty was asked, "What is your truth message to Wall Street?"

"It will be, 'Get your snout out of the trough just like everybody else,'" he replied. "If I'm president, we will not have any more bailouts, carveouts, handouts or special deals. We will reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. But we're going to rid of all the deductions, credits or exemptions, and you're going to compete not based on your connections to a congressman, but connections to whether you can convince consumers you've got a good product or a good value-added proposition."

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