Wed October 2, 2013
Democrats Introduce Bill In Response To Contentious DNR Grant
Democratic lawmakers are sponsoring a bill to give the public a say in how tax dollars are spent to promote hunting and fishing.
Recently, a half-million dollar grant that was included in the state budget was awarded to the United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation. Gov. Scott Walker stopped the grant after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed United Sportsmen had political ties and had misrepresented its tax-exempt status.
“This is something that a lot of people have been asking me about,” says Rep. Chris Danou (D-Trempeleau). “What is unfortunate and disappointing is the way it was done.”
The original grant was slipped into the budget and lawmakers were not told that it could jeopardize $28 million in federal funding when they voted for it. Furthermore, only one group, United Sportsmen, qualified for the narrowly-written grant.
“The majority party told us it would be an open and fair process to give out the grant money for this worthy cause,” says Sen. Bob Wirch, a member of the legislature's budget-writing and natural resources committees. “Unfortunately, it turned into one more example of crony politics around this administration.”
The proposed bill creates a committee to review grant applications and requires applicants use the money to provide hunting and fishing education.