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Former Education Aide to Pawlenty Draws Scrutiny

A former top education aide and campaign adviser to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is the subject of an investigation surrounding a contract she received after leaving her state job, a newspaper is reporting.

Chas Anderson, described as an influential voice on schools issues for the governor, had served as the state's deputy education commission under Pawlenty, where she guided many of his education initiatives, including a controversial alternative teacher compensation program, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. She left that post in June, and within a few days was given a $5,000 consulting contract to help the state write a grant application for the Teacher Incentive Fund, which supports performance-based teacher and principal compensation programs.

Anderson was responsible for the department's day-to-day operations and championed many of the governor's education initiatives, the newspaper reported, including the program known as Quality Compensation for Teachers, or Q Comp. And she was a major player on Pawlenty's campaign for governor, while she was still in her 20s, the newspaper explains in a story describing her work and influence.

A spokesman for a public relations firm said that Anderson was the "best possible person" for the contract job, given her expertise. The spokesman also said that contract was canceled and she was never paid. Anderson is being investigated by the state's Management and Budget Office.

Pawlenty, of course, is thought to be a leading Republican contender for the 2012 presidential race. Whether the investigation has any any impact on him, or reflects on his education legacy, remains to be seen.

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