Don Betzold accuses Tim Pawlenty of diverting $30,000 in "Support Our Troops" funds

Tim Pawlenty is an infamous stickler for budget cuts, which might explain why he's turning to other state agencies to help meet his staffing needs.

So alleges DFL Sen. Don Betzold, who wants to cut $1 million from T-Paw's operating budget. The state senator will hold a hearing today during which he'll make the case that the governor has channeled staff from other state agencies into his own office.

(Updates: Practice defended; Legislation introduced to curtail practice.)

Betzold says he was particularly rankled upon his discovering that $30,000  from the "Support Our Troops" license plate campaign had been transferred to the governor's office-- funds that, by law, were supposed to go to the Department of Military Affairs and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"The money helped pay for someone's salary in the governor's office who coordinates faith-based initiatives," Betzold tells City Pages. " When I bought my license plate, I was thinking I was helping veterans and servicemen. I certainly didn't think it was going to that."

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