Gov. Tim Pawlenty has disbanded his gubernatorial committee, formalizing his decision not to seek a third term. In terminating the organization, he had to disburse more than $500,000 in remaining campaign funds. The funds were split almost evenly between political contributions and charitable gifts, as reported by Tom Scheck at Minnesota Public Radio.
The charitable donations, totaling $284,000, are spread among ten different nonprofit groups. The most significant beneficiary: Minnesota Teen Challenge, which received roughly $85,000 from the governor. As previously reported by MnIndy, the organization has been criticized for purportedly using taxpayer funds to spread its Christian message.
Other recipients include Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund ($30,000), Minnesota Military Family Foundation ($30,000) and the Starkey Hearing Foundation ($25,000). The latter was started by Bill and Tani Austin, prominent GOP donors who two years ago hosted a fundraiser featuring President Bush at their home in Eden Prairie.
Pawlenty split the political funds, totaling $290,000, between three GOP organizations: the Republican Party of Minnesota ($204,000), the House Republican Campaign Committee ($40,000) and the Senate Victory Fund, $40,000.
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