Tim Pawlenty, whose previous experience with Wall Street consisted mainly of telling them to “get their snouts out of the trough,” has taken a job as the head of the Financial Services Roundtable, one of the main trade groups for Wall Street.
The Roundtable is one of a handful of Washington groups, including the American Bankers Association and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, that are lobbying financial regulators as they implement the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law.
The groups often coordinate their efforts but they are also competitors when it comes to establishing which one is the voice of the banking and financial services industry in Washington.
Pawlenty would immediately elevate the Roundtable’s profile in political circles.
Google isn’t what it used to be now that it weights more recent stories more heavily, and Pawlenty’s Presidential campaign website doesn’t exist anymore. But I can’t really find any substantive statement from Pawlenty on financial services matters throughout the past two years. Really that’s true of the Republican Party as a whole, particularly at the Presidential level. “Repeal Dodd-Frank” is about as substantive as it gets. In this interview with Larry Kudlow Pawlenty says, in addition to the famed “snouts out of the trough” comment, he opposes the re-appointment of Ben Bernanke, and that he opposes devaluing the dollar because he thinks that the Fed is trying to “inflate their way out of this deficit.” In another interview in March 2011, Pawlenty opposed “fiat money.” He didn’t explain whether he wanted to return to the gold standard or not. His ideas on monetary policy, then, are miserable from the standpoint of exports and costs the US millions of jobs, incidentally. But it’s the closest I could find to an actual comment about finance. The guy came up as an avatar of “Sam’s Club Republicanism.”
But as the quote I pulled alluded to, Pawlenty isn’t being chosen by the Financial Services Roundtable for his vast knowledge of financial services. He was chosen because he has a familiar name to members of Congress and he can get into offices and lobby them with relative ease. This is the whole point of the revolving door – find someone with contacts and name recognition and use that as a lever to get your lobby’s goals into the Congressional consciousness. His predecessor at the Financial Services Roundtable, Steve Bartlett, was a Congressman from Texas.
Pawlenty, by the way, quit the Romney campaign to take the Financial Services Roundtable job. Talk about rats jumping off the sinking ship.