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Pawlenty to Head Financial Services Roundtable

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has stepped down as co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to become chief executive of the Financial Services Roundtable, a major Wall Street lobbying group...
September 28, 2012

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has stepped down as co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to become chief executive of the Financial Services Roundtable, a major Wall Street lobbying group. Pawlenty joined the Romney campaign in September 2011 after abandoning his own White House bid, following a poor showing in the Iowa straw poll a month earlier. He was considered a possible running mate for Romney before the GOP nominee tapped Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Pawlenty will not step into his new role until November 1, but he left the Romney campaign immediately because the Financial Services Roundtable is a bipartisan organization. The Financial Services Roundtable represents “100 integrated financial services companies providing banking, insurance and investment products and services to the American consumer,” according to its public statements.

If Romney’s presidential campaign is successful then Pawlenty, his close friend, will have close access to the President. But if Obama is reelected, the White House is not expected to be sympathetic to Pawlenty. Congressional aides and outside analysts see the choice of Pawlenty as strengthening The Roundtable’s relationship with current Republican leaders and signaling its commitment to its legislative agenda. Most observers do not expect the Dodd-Frank Act to be repealed even if Romney is elected, but Congressional Republicans may have the opportunity to reduce the scope of the reform law.

What It Means to Agents: The Financial Services Roundtable has long advocated for proposals that PIA strongly opposes. It has a long record of support for the so-called “optional” federal charter for insurers and producers, which PIA opposes. Allowing insurers to opt out of more stringent state regulation in favor of more lax federal regulation would only benefit banks and mega-insurers, tilting the playing field toward a handful of large, integrated financial firms and away from state and regional insurance companies – and the independent agents who represent them. Consumers would have fewer choices in insurance.