Pawlenty: Sever all state ties to ACORN

  • Article by: BOB VON STERNBERG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 16, 2009 - 6:01 PM

Gov. Tim Pawlenty today joined the chorus of disapproval aimed at the ACORN community organizing group, ordering that state agencies "stop all state funding" of the group.

But a local spokesman for the group said there's no state funding to stop.

In a letter sent to Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Tom Hanson, Pawlenty cited "recent reports of questionable behavior and potentially illegal activity" by ACORN employees as the basis of his action.

He directed Hanson to halt all state funding of ACORN -- "unless the state is legally obligated" to pay the group. He also told Hanson to conduct a "thorough" investigation of the state's relationship with ACORN.

It was not immediately clear how much, if any, business the state conducts with ACORN and Pawelnty's spokesman didn't return a call and e-mail requesting comment.

But Kevin Whelan, a spokesman for ACORN's Twin Cities affiliate, said the organization has never gotten money from the state of Minnesota "and there's certainly not a dime to cut off right now."

Pawlenty's action came two days after the Senate overwhelmingly voted to prohibit federal housing officials from giving money to ACORN.

The organization has been the source of ire among conservatives, who accused it of voter fraud during last year's presidential campaign.

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