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Mismanagement and Secrecy

Secret $50,000 Payment

Tim Pawlenty's Skeleton Closet

Tim Pawlenty is not that well-known yet. The governor of Minnesota is an evangelical Christian who loves rock music and fishing. Republican strategist Vin Weber calls him an ethical "Eagle Scout" who has trouble building a political organization for that very reason. The son of a truck driver and a housewife, Pawlenty started school to become a dentist but found the classes too hard.

We're still digging for dirt(and waiting for your tips), but so far we know about Pawlenty's mismanagement of state government, and a secret $50,000 payoff.


"I have a wife who genuinely loves to fish. I mean, she will take the lead and ask me to go out fishing, and joyfully comes here. She loves football, she'll go to hockey games and, I jokingly say, 'Now, if I could only get her to have sex with me.'" -- Pawlenty

"Children who are victims of failed personal responsibility are not my problem, nor are they the problem for our government." -- Pawlenty, April 2001

"I'm an evangelical Christian. I believe that God created everything and that he is who he says he was. The Bible says that he created man and woman; it doesn't say that he created an amoeba and then they evolved into man and woman. But there are a lot of theologians who say that the ideas of evolution and creationism aren't necessarily inconsistent; that he could have "created" human beings over time." - Pawlenty

"It's like Tiger Woods' wife, we should take a nine iron to the back windshield of big government spending and smash it out." - Pawlenty

-- Quote Sources

Mismanagement of State Government

Pawlenty's only real claim to being qualified to be president is his stint as governor of Minnesota (which puts him on a par with Jesse Ventura, except that Tim lacks military or pro-wrestling experience). His actual record as governor is not that good.

Most infamously, an interstate freeway bridge collapsed on his watch, after years of budget cuts and politicization of the transportation department. Furthermore, two different state department heads had to quit after stalling state investigations into health risks of corporate pollution.

Dianne Mandernach, Pawlenty’s Department of Health commissioner, had to resign in August of 2007 after it was revealed that she had suppressed a cancer study pertaining to Iron Range miners for more than a year -- and tipped off a big mining company a week before finally announcing it. And Sheryl Corrigan, a 3M executive who Pawlenty named as commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, resigned in June 2006 after a whistleblower lawsuit was filed alleging she stonewalled department inquiries into a class of chemicals manufactured by 3M.

There are probably more scandals as big or bigger, but Pawlenty has aggressively worked to keep government records secrety. While Jesse Ventura was open even with documents that showed his government in a bad light, Pawlenty applied a highly restrictive interpretation of the state's open record law -- declaring that only the final decisions by his government needed to be made public, not any of the memos, emails or white papers used in developing that final decision. Since the government inevitably announces its final decisions to the press anyway, this decision essentially made everything in state government secret, suddenly. But as we've seen, there is no question that he has much to hide. -- Sources

Secret $50,000 Payoff

In 2003, during his first term as governor, Pawlenty admitted that he accepted $54,000 in cash from a friend and colleague named Elam Baer, and could not document any work he did in exchange for this cash. It may have been technically legal; there is a loophole in Minnesota donation laws for independent contracting payments. But it smells to high heaven.

Elam Baer says that Pawlenty was a "consultant" to his company, and was paid $4,500 per month ($54,000/year) for his part-time work. Asked what he did, Pawlenty said he couldn't remember how much time he spent working for Baer, and that his consulting contract prevented him showing examples of his work. Elam Baer is actually an owner of 3 companies; Access Anywhere (which paid Pawlenty), Holdings (which Pawlenty invested in), and New Access, a subsidiary of NewTel.

New Access, a telecommunications company, has been accused of unscrupulous actions in 7 states -- including Minnesota -- such as "slamming" - signing up people for your telecom company without their permission. While he can't say what Pawlenty did for him, Elam Baer does say: "I think I got good value for what I paid." -- Sources


"Pawlenty Tees Off on Tiger Woods," by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio, February 4, 2010

Quote Sources -- Back

"The Case Against Pawlenty,", By Chris Cillizza, Washington Post, June 20, 2008

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty Jokes His Wife Won't Have Sex With Him by Katherine Zaleski, Huffington Post, May 12, 2008

"Tim Pawlenty Gets No Respect", by Howard Fineman, Newsweek, December 21, 2009

10 Things You Didn't Know About Tim Pawlenty", by Danielle Burton, U.S. News and Business Report, May 22, 2008

"Pawlenty Tees Off on Tiger Woods," by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio, February 4, 2010

Mismanagement Sources -- Back

"What We Don't Know Can't Hurt Him," by Steve Perry, The Minnesota Independent, 7/7/08

Secret $50,000 Payment Sources -- Back

"What Hearings? What Scandal?", By Britt Robson, Citypages, Vol. 24 #1181, pages 20-21, July 23, 2003

"Candidate Pawlenty kept business pursuits in background," Minnesota Public Radio, July 17, 2003

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Copyright 2010 Mark Saltveit