ST. PAUL, Minn., April 2 (UPI) -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Friday he still backs Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele despite the party's donor scandal.
Pawlenty, touted by some as a GOP presidential prospect for 2012, credited Steele with taking responsibility for the party's decision to reimburse donors who held an event at a bondage-themed Los Angeles nightclub, The Hill reported.
In an appearance on NBC's "Today" show, Pawlenty called paying for the donor event "a terrible incident, a stupid thing."
"There's people involved with really bad judgment and they did not have the controls in place to catch it and to flag it," Pawlenty said. "So he has to take responsibility for that. They've done that, they have fired the employee. It's something that should not have happened on Michael's watch. But he's taken responsibility for it; hopefully they can improve and continue on. And I believe they will."
The Minnesota governor responded affirmatively when asked if Steele still has his support. That distinguishes him from some GOP lawmakers who have harshly criticized Steele, and other Republicans who have sought his resignation, The Hill noted.