Tim Pawlenty is out! In a suspiciously-timed move, the former Minnesota governor, who was one of Mitt Romney’s most reliable allies, has announced that he is stepping down as national co-chair of the GOP campaign ticket for the greener pastures of K Street.
The Financial Services Roundtable announced Thursday that Pawlenty will be joining the ranks of Wall Street lobbyists as CEO of the group, a position that will reportedly net him a seven-figure salary.
“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.”
Pawlenty, who was at one time vetted for a potential VP pick, leaves the campaign with Romney’s blessing:
“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 is sort of being forced to step down as his new position won’t allow him to participate in partisan political activities, conflicts of interest and all that:
“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 has been a major player in the debate over financial reform, its newest goal being repeal of the Dodd-Frank legislation. Pawlenty leaves the Romney campaign a mere 47 days before election.