Former Iowa football player signs with T-Paw

I know it’s been a long time since Matt Whitaker played football at the University of Iowa, but former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty says he’s glad Whitaker is on his “team” and there’s a lot about “Winning!” in the press release, hence the headline.


URBANDALE – Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker will chair the Iowa steering committee of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican who has formed a 2012 presidential exploratory committee.

“Tim Pawlenty is a proven leader and a winner. He was elected and re-elected in one of the most heavily Democrat states in the nation, and he did it while remaining true to his conservative values and principles. What that meant for Minnesota voters was a governor who finally stood his ground against higher taxes and spending increases while reforming health care, improving education and making state government more efficient,” Whitaker said. “That’s a sharp contrast to President Obama’s record in Washington. I’m ready to work hard to see that Governor Pawlenty is our next president.”

Whitaker is the managing partner of the Des Moines law firm, Whitaker Hagenow GMBG. He served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 to 2009, prosecuting federal crimes such as mail and wire fraud, public corruption, child pornography, firearms violations, narcotics trafficking, corporate fraud, and terrorism financing.

Whitaker received his undergraduate, master of business administration and law degrees from the University of Iowa, where he was a tight end on the 1990 Big Ten Champion football team and played in the Rose Bowl game and the 1991 team that played in the Holiday Bowl.   Following graduation in 1995, Whitaker moved to the Twin Cities and worked for the law firm of Briggs & Morgan. In 1998, Whitaker joined SUPERVALU, a Fortune 500 grocery company, as corporate counsel. In 2001, Whitaker and his family moved back to Iowa and he joined the law firm of Finely Alt Smith where he remained until his appointment as United States Attorney.  In 2002, Whitaker was the GOP nominee for state treasurer.

“Matt Whitaker is a man who knows what’s important and he gets things done,” Pawlenty said. “That’s been true from his days as a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes team that played in the Rose Bowl to his determination as a U.S. Attorney who prosecuted dangerous criminals and put them behind bars. Iowans know and respect Matt Whitaker.  We’re very happy and blessed to have him on our team.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.