[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/15/art.mccain.pawlenty.gi.jpg caption="Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was among several Republicans on John McCain's vice presidential short list in 2008."]Washington (CNN) - As the man tasked with vetting the Republicans short-listed to be Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008, A.B. Culvahouse had an up-close look at Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Sarah Palin - all of whom were possible vice presidential picks before Palin ultimately got the nod.
Now those three Republicans are considering 2012 presidential bids, along with running political action committees to pay for staff and help GOP candidates get elected this November.
But Culvahouse has only given money to one of the potential candidates he interviewed so thoroughly in 2008: Pawlenty.
Culvahouse, an influential GOP attorney and chairman of Washington law firm O'Melveny & Myers, gave $500 to the Minnesota governor's "Freedom First PAC" in March, according to paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday.
Asked why he contributed to Pawlenty instead of Romney or Palin, Culvahouse said he admires all three leaders, but suggested that Palin has work to do before he'll consider donating to her PAC.
"I expect that I will contribute to Romney's PAC when asked and likely to Palin's if it will undertake the party-building work necessary to prepare the way for a campaign," he explained in an e-mail to CNN.
An aide to Pawlenty, meanwhile, said the governor appreciates Culvahouse's contribution.