Former Minnesota governor-turned-lobbyist Tim Pawlenty has told Bloomberg Businessweek that he sees no inconsistency between his criticism of the banking industry as a presidential candidate and his current position as head of a national bank lobbying group.
"Tim Pawlenty has got to regret what he calls 'the now-infamous snout out of the trough line,'” writes Bloomberg’s Paul Barrett, who got the first at-length interview with Pawlenty since he was named CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable. “Not that he'll admit it... A look of annoyance briefly clouds Pawlenty's placid face when this is noted. No, he says, he sees no inconsistency. Taxpayer-funded bailouts - the trough he railed against - are history.”
Barrett’s story focuses on how the Obama administration’s Wall Street reforms (aka “Dodd-Frank”) have been stalled by industry groups like Pawlenty’s. It also delves into what their fate may be under a Republican President Mitt Romney, who had Pawlenty on his Veep short-list.
Pawlenty, in the piece, plays down the prospect of another financial meltdown a la 2008, noting, at least in part, Dodd-Frank provisions that allow for an “orderly wind-down of systematically important institutions.”
Concluded Barrett: “One could quibble that the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law, which created the wind-down authority Pawlenty praises, was enacted (over Republican resistance) in 2010-a full year before his anti-Wall Street tirade. Setting aside the chronology, suffice it to say that, as a candidate seeking populist credibility, Pawlenty beat up on big bankers. Today he works for them."
The story is also notable in suggesting that Pawlenty might be done with politics. “I've had my full run,” he tells the writer.
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