In Dealbook this morning, Andrew Ross Sorkin assessed former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s new job as president of the Financial Services Roundtable, Wall Street’s K-Street lobby group.Actually, “assessed” doesn’t really capture what Sorkin does in the piece. He goes over a laundry list of examples of when Pawlenty was passionately and unabashedly at odds with Wall Street. The issues range from last summer’s debate over raising the debt ceiling to the bank bailouts.
To boil it down to one sentence, Sorkin says that this appointment “is the clearest sign yet of the flexible ethic that makes the revolving door in Washington spin faster.”
But not so fast. Pawlenty has always championed one of Wall Street’s favourite causes — limiting financial regulation. That translated into significant donations to his presidential bid from individuals at Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo, according to Open Secrets.
And when Sorkin asked Steve Bartlett, the current president of the Financial Services Roundtable, about the Pawlenty pick, things got really frank.
When I asked how he felt about Mr. Pawlenty’s comments about the bailouts, which seem at odds with his organisation, he said: “Our views are totally consistent. I don’t find those views to be at odds….”
And what about Mr. Pawlenty’s views of defaulting on the debt ceiling?
“In Washington there is an old saying, ‘Where you stand depends on where you sit.’ “
Sadly, no truer words have ever been said about the influence of money on our nation’s capital.
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