Skip to main content


November 15, 2012

Tim Pawlenty's About-Face on Wall Street

Tim Pawlenty has got to regret what he calls “the now-infamous ‘snout out of the trough’ line.” Not that he’ll admit it. The former governor of Minnesota and failed Republican presidential candidate is sitting in a Washington corner office still decorated with the grip-and-grin photographs of his predecessor. His black travel roller bag rests nearby. He’s a man in transition, discussing his move through the revolving door from public service to corporate influence.


“As a result of the failure to make Dodd-Frank tough enough, we still have the too-big-to-fail problem,” Kaufman argues. The largest financial giants are larger than ever. The top 50 U.S. bank holding companies control assets of $15 trillion, a 500 percent increase since 1991, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”


“Pawlenty disagrees. He argues that Dodd-Frank, as passed, did enough to address the too-big-to-fail problem. The law required large banks to draft “living wills,” or contingency plans anticipating how they would be liquidated in a crisis. And it created a financial stability council charged with monitoring excessive risk-taking. Wall Street, according to Pawlenty, has been sufficiently weaned from the bailout trough. We’ll only ever know whether the Dodd-Frank provisions will work for an orderly breakup of some future Lehman if another institution that large and that interconnected to the rest of the financial system threatens to go over the cliff. The more immediate question is whether industry “refinements” of the law will lessen or increase the likelihood that another leviathan ends up teetering on the edge.”


“What Pawlenty, Talbott, and their colleagues call refinement, skeptics see as a strategic neutering of financial reform. “The bottom line,” says Dennis Kelleher, head of a pro-regulatory advocacy group called Better Markets, “is that Wall Street, their lobbyists, and their Republican friends are fighting Dodd-Frank tooth and nail.”


“It’s a mess,” says Kelleher, a blunt former corporate lawyer and Democratic congressional staff member whose organization is funded by an Atlanta-based hedge fund manager named Michael Masters. The Volcker Rule has been significantly watered down and is nowhere near taking effect, Kelleher says. “The biggest reason the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the other agencies haven’t completed their work is industry lobbying.””


Read full article here

In the News


For media inquiries, please contact us at or 202-618-6433.

Contact Us

For media inquiries, please contact or 202-618-6433.

To sign up for our email newsletter, please visit this page.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign Up — Stay Informed With Our Monthly Newsletter

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

For media inquiries,

please contact or 202-618-6433.


Help us fight for the public interest in our financial markets, protecting Main Street from Wall Street and avoiding another costly financial collapse and economic crisis, by making a donation today.

Donate Today