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Minnesotans lead financial roundtable

ST. PAUL -- One of Washington's influential lobbying organizations soon will have a stronger Minnesota leaning with the promotion of a Detroit Lakes native.

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, president and chief executive officer of the Financial Services Roundtable, on Jan. 1 will make Eric Hoplin, a former Minnesota Republican Party official, the group's executive director. Hoplin has been the organization's vice president of communications and organizational strategy.

The roundtable represents 100 of the country's largest financial services companies, such as banks, insurance companies and investment firms. Firms the roundtable represents account for nearly $93 trillion in assets.

"Eric's exceptional leadership and management skills make him the right person to help me lead FSR as one of the most dynamic organizations in Washington," Pawlenty said.

Hoplin, 35, gained a certain amount of fame as leader of National College Republicans before he became Minnesota GOP deputy chairman in 2005.

In an interview when he worked for the party, Hoplin's arms whipped about as he spoke in his uber-enthusiastic manner.

"I just love my job," the animated political wonk said. "There is something new every day."

Even then, he was used to talking to reporters and large political crowds. He delivered a speech to the 2004 Republican National Convention.

While leading College Republicans, the Seattle Times and other newspapers uncovered a marketing arrangement that riled some older Republicans. The marketing company was accused of over-selling the need for money, especially to the elderly, and not making it clear the solicitation was for College Republicans.

As College Republican leader, Hoplin took the heat.

"I'm the guy who fixed it," Hoplin declared in 2006 interview. "I just knew what was happening was wrong."

In that interview, Hoplin said he hoped his career led him to somehow fighting terrorism.

Instead, he works for Pawlenty, who had been fairly quiet after he took the roundtable job since dropping out of the 2012 presidential race. However, in recent days the former governor has greatly increased his social media presence, at one point even quoting what he said in a newspaper story.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.