#heritagesham Rep. Milroy: “Don’t play dirty politics with hunting and fishing heritage”

Here’s another press release post. There are more resources/links at the end of this and for up to the moment updates, search Topsy for the tag #heritagesham

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 28, 2013
Contact: Rep. Nick Milroy, 608.266.0640

Shady giveaway a slap in the face to Wisconsin outdoor enthusiasts
Rep. Milroy: “Don’t play dirty politics with hunting and fishing heritage”

MADISON – On Thursday morning, the Sporting Heritage Committee will meet to decide whether to give a $500,000 grant to a Republican political lobbying group under the guise of supporting Wisconsin’s proud outdoor heritage.

New information surfaced this week in news investigations that show the group to receive the grant, United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, in reality has “no history of doing the kind of training that would qualify for the grant,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Furthermore, the group was proven to be closely linked to Republican campaigns and right-wing, conservative political groups, including Americans for Prosperity-WI.

Rep. Nick Milroy (D-South Range), a member of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and an avid outdoorsman, said, “This is an outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars and trust. It must be halted immediately.”

The budget drafting file shows that the language was put in the budget by departing Republican Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder whose former Chief of Staff is involved with the group in line to receive the grant. The language was crafted in a way that prohibited highly regarded conservation groups that have solid training experience from being qualified for the grant.

“If this grant is approved, it will actually take money away from hunters, fishers and other outdoor enthusiasts and funnel it to a shady lobbying group that advocates for Republicans in elections,” said Milroy. “This is a slap in the face to our state’s hunters and anglers to take the largest natural resources grant in the budget and abuse it to play politics and hand out partisan favors.”

Both the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau and Legislative Council advised Milroy that the committee does have the option of denying this application. Given the new and startling revelations, Milroy and his Democratic colleagues on the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources called on the Sporting Heritage Committee to immediately take action to stop this abuse of power, reopen the process and award the grant in a way that respects Wisconsin taxpayers and our state’s proud outdoors heritage.

The grant is set at $500,000 in this budget and adds an additional $450,000 every budget going forward. According to news reports, a DNR spokesperson indicated the grant would continue to be paid in perpetuity. It would potentially spend millions in taxpayer money without a competitive and transparent bidding process.

“We all want to see more people take up hunting, fishing and trapping in Wisconsin, and it is vital to promote this to our youth,” Milroy added. “However, we must have a competitive, fair and open process when taxpayer dollars are involved. As elected officials we must make sure the state restarts this process with thorough, public review and feedback.”

Wisconsin panel to meet Thursday on controversial $500,000 grant
Wautoma — A state advisory committee is moving forward with the process of deciding whether to award a $500,000 grant to a sportsman’s group with close ties to GOP politicians and conservative groups.

Scott Gunderson, the No. 3 official at the state Department of Natural Resources and the chairman of the Sporting Heritage Committee, said the group would meet Thursday as planned to decide whether to give the award — the largest DNR grant planned in fiscal year 2014 to an outside group — to the United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation….

8/29/13: WLCV Statement on Sporting Heritage Grant:
Government Handout to Political Front Group Cheats Wisconsin’s Authentic Hunting Organizations

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