TORONTO - Ontario's Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration has a track record of handing out money to groups with Liberal connections, including a grant to an multicultural organization that was registered as an animal welfare charity, the opposition charged Thursday.

For a second day in a row, the opposition hammered Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Mike Colle in the legislature for giving out money without going through an application process, and for apparently favouring groups with ties to the Liberals.

Colle wrote a letter on March 27, 2006 to the Iranian-Canadian Community Centre in Richmond Hill, Ont., and offered $200,000 in funding. The New Democrats say the organization's board of directors include the president of the Liberals' local riding association and the candidate who intends to run for the Liberals in the next election.

They added that the letter offering the grant was sent only a few weeks after the charity was registered with the Canada Revenue Agency -- as an organization that worked toward the "protection of animals.''

Colle said he couldn't explain why his department would have funded the group if it had that classification.

"We'll look into that, I don't know where that came from,'' Colle said.

"I was given the (name of the) organization that had association with helping the Iranian refugee community, and the names of the people were people that seemed to be working in that area.''

New Democrat Michael Prue said the government has an obligation to show how the money was spent, given the questions being raised.

"Somebody has to wonder, $200,000 given to a previously non-existent group ... and it's all tied into the Liberal party,'' he said.

"I haven't the slightest clue how an animal protection agency qualified for that fund, I don't know how that helps any new immigrants in this province.''

Government officials said the organization was first incorporated in August 2005 and has since corrected its charitable designation to "recreation, playgrounds and vacation camps.''

On Wednesday, the Ontario government was accused of giving $250,000 to the Bengali Cultural Society in Toronto based on a recommendation by Liberal Maria Minna, who represents the area federally.

Colle said the money for both grants came from some unexpected, last-minute funding from the finance ministry, and that's why there was no paper trail or application process.

Conservative Leader John Tory said the lack of details about how the funding was awarded makes all politicians look bad and is bound to make taxpayers even more cynical.

"It brings a bad smell on all politicians to have hundreds of thousands (or) millions of taxpayers' dollars going out of this government without any paperwork, no applications, no nothing,'' Tory said.

"I don't think the paper exists, I think the process stinks.''

Finance Minister Greg Sorbara denied the government was giving money to Liberal-friendly organizations and said a $200,000 grant is "a pittance,'' and nothing more than "seed money'' to help a group get established.

"Look at the list of people (that got money), most of them aren't involved in politics at all,'' Sorbara said.