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Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is leaving his job as national co-chairman of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign for the top post with a Wall Street lobbying group.
Pawlenty will take over as CEO of the bipartisan Financial Services Roundtable effective Nov. 1. He replaces longtime CEO Steve Bartlett, who announced his retirement earlier this year, and reportedly earned a salary of $2 million a year.
Advisor Brian McClung says the new lobbying job means Pawlenty is ruling out any run for U.S. Senate or governor in 2014. Pawlenty had been mentioned as a possible challenger of Democratic Sen. Al Franken or Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton in two years.
"With this new position, Governor Pawlenty is taking off the table running for U.S. Senate or governor in 2014," McClung said in an email to the Associated Press.
Pawlenty had often talked about strengthening the private sector. Now, he's a part of it as the chief executive of a Wall Street lobbying firm based in Washington.
"My time in public service was rewarding and focused on achieving results," Pawlenty said. "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."
Politico reports Pawlenty informed Romney of his decision a few days ago and, as a condition, agreed not to take a position with a possible Romney administration; however, he described Romney as a "truly good man and great leader" in a statement released Thursday, saying he still has faith in Romney's vision and policies.
Some had questioned whether Pawlenty was abandoning ship after Romney's struggling campaign struck upon more controversy in the wake of a secret video release. When asked if the departure was related to the rough patch, McClung said, "It's absolute ridiculousness."
Political success eluded Pawlenty on the national scale. In 2008, he was passed over as a potential running mate for John McCain, he abruptly ended his presidential campaign in 2011 before he was passed over by Mitt Romney as a running mate.
Now, Pawlenty will be trying his hand at becoming a banking lobbyist.
"I'm excited about this new challenge," Pawlenty said. "Few industries have more impact on the entire economy -- and on the lives of average Americans -- than financial services. I realize there is still work to be done to continue to earn customers' confidence. Our members will best accomplish that goal by responsibly investing every day in our communities and job creators. I look forward to working closely with decision makers from both parties on issues related to our nation's banks, insurance companies and investment firms so that they can continue to provide fuel for America's economic engine."
So, how much attention has he paid to the industry during his political career? FOX 9 News found his record isn't so great.
During his tenure, the Minnesota Commerce Department had the lowest ratio of inspectors to banks in the entire nation. In 2008, just 23 examiners were tasked with watching 322 charted banks. Now, there are 28 for 288 banks.
Also, inspectors were not enforcing industry guidelines under Pawlenty, which gave banks a green light to use customers' checking and savings accounts to double down on the real estate market before the crash in 2008. In the next two years, 12 Minnesota banks failed.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.