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Former Romney Campaign Chairman Turned Bank Lobbyist: Banks Should Regulate Themselves

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"Former Romney Campaign Chairman Turned Bank Lobbyist: Banks Should Regulate Themselves"

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Former Minnesota Governor and unsuccessful presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty announced yesterday that he was stepping down as co-chairman of the Romney campaign in order to take over the top spot at the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group that represents the largest financial services companies in the country. Pawlenty assumed the role as a top bank lobbyist despite his tough words for Wall Street during his campaign.

As head of the FSR, one of Pawlenty’s key roles will be helping banks water down the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. And he got started during his first press conference by calling for banks to do more self-regulation, choosing “voluntarily” to stop doing “stupid things”:

In his first press conference since being named head of the Financial Services Roundtable, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he would seek a “refinement” of the Dodd-Frank Act, but also added that banks need to do more to regulate themselves.

The one-time Republican presidential hopeful, who is stepping down as co-chair of Mitt Romney’s campaign, said he was asked while interviewing for the Roundtable job about how financial institutions can regain the public’s trust.

“I said, ‘Stop doing stupid things,’” Pawlenty said while sitting in the Roundtable’s Washington offices.

“These are large organizations with tens of thousands of employees in many cases. There is always going to be some individual doing something that’s off track. That’s human nature. But the obligation and the opportunity of the organizations is to put controls in place and a culture in place that minimizes the likelihood of that, but does it voluntarily.”

Of course, the anticipation that banks would self-regulate — rendering federal regulations unnecessary — was part of what caused the financial crisis in 2008. Romney has pledged to repeal the Dodd-Frank law.

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