Pawlenty Quits Romney Campaign for K Street

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 20 2012 10:17 AM

Pawlenty Quits Romney Campaign for "Sexy" K Street Gig

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Tim Pawlenty takes the stage during the third day of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 29

Photograph by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor and one-time GOP presidential hopeful, has a new gig as CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, a heavy-hitter in the world of financial lobbying.

In order to take the K Street job, Pawlenty will step down from his current role as co-chairman of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. The Minnesota Republican had widely been thought to be in the running to be Romney's running mate, but ultimately lost out to Paul Ryan. Nonetheless, Pawlenty had stayed on with the campaign as one of Romney's top surrogates.

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Given the campaign's recent struggles, it's not exactly a stretch of the imagination that Pawlenty was looking for an easy exit. But that doesn't appear to be the story (at least the full one) here. The high-profile Roundtable represents the interests of about 100 financial services companies—from big banks to insurance companies—and is a major player in any debate over finanical legislation on the Hill. It also doesn't hurt that Pawlenty's salary could approach $2 million, according to reports.

"I think this is the sexiest CEO job going around in the association space," Ivan Adler, a principal at the McCormick Group, an executive search firm in D.C., explained to the Hill earlier this week. "If a CEO job for an association can be sexy, this is it."

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.