When Minnesota motorists paid out $30 apiece for "Support Our Troops" license plates, it's a good bet they had no idea they were supporting Lee Buckley, a political appointee of Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Last year $30,000 from the license-plate fund was used to pay a portion of Buckley's salary. Buckley worked in Pawlenty's office as a $92,000 a year special adviser on faith and community services.
By state law, money from the plates is split between the Department of Military Affairs for family members of deployed service members and the Department of Veterans Affairs for grants for homeless and needy veterans.
"For money that was supposed to go to fund things for veterans going to fund people in the governor's office, it's outrageous," said Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, a Marine veteran. "The governor runs around telling everyone he's cutting all these budgets, and then he back-door fills in his own department. I'm just disgusted with this."
Fortunately for those military families and needy Vets, Minnesota's State House slashed the budget for Pawlenty's office my $30,000 and ordered that money directed back to the license plate fund.
The difference between Presidential hopeful Pawlenty and the current Commander-in-Chief couldn't be more stark. Less than five days after the President donated $250,000 to Fisher House to support Veterans and military families, we learn that the Minnesota Governor essentially stole $30,000 from Vets and families in his state.
Don't worry Tim, we'll make sure the nation knows the extent of your support of Veterans and military families as the 2012 election season draws nearer.