Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty yanked state funding from the ACORN community organizing group because of what he described as "recent reports of questionable behavior and potentially illegal activity.”
Although an ACORN official said the group doesn't receive money from Minnesota, Pawlenty ordered a review and suspension of public contracts with ACORN on Wednesday after the group came under fire for advising a couple to lie to the IRS to get housing help.
The governor wrote a letter to Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Tom Hanson ordering state agencies to "stop all state funding" of the group, the Star Tribune reported.
Pawlenty, a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, is pressing the ACORN controversy in the hopes of prompting the Justice Department to investigate it, Politico reported, citing a Republican source.
The governor also told Hanson to investigate thoroughly the state's relationship with the group.
"Unless the state is legally obligated" to pay ACORN, all state funding of the beleaguered group should be halted, Pawlenty said.
However, Kevin Whelan, deputy political director for ACORN's Twin Cities affiliate, said the organization has never gotten money from the state, "and there's certainly not a dime to cut off right now," the Star Tribune reported. Pawlenty's move "seems like it's motivated by politics or publicity," Whelan told the Star Tribune.
The U.S. Senate voted Monday to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN, and the Census Bureau recently severed its ties with the group for the 2010 national head count, the Associated Press reported.
During last year’s presidential campaign, conservatives accused ACORN of voter fraud, intimidation techniques at polling places, and illegal activities by some of its workers.
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