Pawlenty’s not-so-bold ACORN decision

PAWLENTY’S NOT-SO-BOLD ACORN DECISION…. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s (R) acute case of Romney-itis seems to be getting worse.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty today joined the chorus of disapproval aimed at the ACORN community organizing group, ordering that state agencies “stop all state funding” of the group.

But a local spokesman for the group said there’s no state funding to stop.

In a letter sent to Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Tom Hanson, Pawlenty cited “recent reports of questionable behavior and potentially illegal activity” by ACORN employees as the basis of his action.

Kevin Whelan, a spokesman 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.”

In other words, Pawlenty’s grandstanding has the same practical effect as me announcing that I’ve decided to strip the Political Animal budget of all ACORN funding.

This detail, however, will likely go overlooked in Pawlenty’s stump speech, when he proudly proclaims to conservative activists that he boldly cut off ACORN from taxpayer dollars in Minnesota.

It doesn’t matter if it’s true; it matters if it impresses the base.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.