Thursday, August 29, 2013

Taxpayers give Half a Million Dollars to Right Wing Lobbyists to promote hunting and fishing, which includes Mining, campaign concerts, and wetland development.

This is the most blatant political payoff and waste of taxpayer money yet from the Walker Authority. Seriously, nothing like in-your-face crass cronyism to desensitize the public for future grand giveaways just waiting in the wings.

I need to catch my breath.
jsonline: A controversial $500,000 grant for promoting hunting and fishing was recommended by a state committee  … The United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation, a group with close ties to GOP politicians and other conservative organizations, is the only applicant for the award … a virtual lock on the money.
Here’s the most outrageous part; it has to be done fast:
Scott Gunderson, the committee chairman repeatedly said during the meeting that the agency was required by the state budget passed in July to quickly award the grant — one of the DNR's largest to an outside group planned in fiscal year 2014. "I think we have to follow the law," said Gunderson, who voted for United Sportsmen. "I never think it's a tough decision to follow the law."
The budget required the grant be given immediately. Amazing.
United Sportsmen has no history of doing the kind of training called for in the grant. The grant was quickly approved in May … Its language prevented most established conservation groups from applying for the grant.
Even some Republicans have a conscience:
Mark LaBarbera of Hazel Green, the sole member of the committee to vote against United Wisconsin, asked the group's president a number of questions about its finances, structure and qualifications, stressing that "people around here think this just doesn't smell right." Afterward, he said he wasn't satisfied with the answers as given. "I didn't think we had a clear enough answer that I could vote yes so I had to vote no."
This interesting note from Daily Kos about a comment from Greg Palast:
The Koch Operation, Americans for Prosperity, had its Chief set up a front called United Sportsmen of Wisconsin. United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, which appeared and then instantly vanished after the recall vote...
And now that these Republican lobbyists have the taxpayer money, it’s time to actually create United Sportsmen:
United Sportsman president Andy Pantzlaff said that his group would do a national search for a full-time executive director; and hire a full-time director of operations and part-time staffer to work on public policy.
They will serve their masters to promote other radical right wing lobbyists to spread propaganda in of all places, our schools:
The group would also bring programs such as the National Rifle Association's Eddie Eagle gun safety program into schools to try and change the trend of declining youth interest in hunting. "Failure is not an option," Pantzlaff said. "We have to try something new and innovative."
And like good Republican politicians who always say they're safe guarding taxpayer money:
The state budget includes no requirement that the grant be put out to competitive bid in the future...
Promoting hunting and fishing really means something else:
United Sportsmen of Wisconsin has been lobbying lawmakers in favor of sporting legislation such as the creation of a wolf hunt as well as bills to ease the way for a controversial open-pit iron mine in northern Wisconsin and to better enable development in wetlands … sponsored the Sportsmen Freedom Fest and Concert in Lake Delton with Americans for Prosperity and the National Rifle Association in October 2012, just ahead of the presidential election. United Sportsmen has apparently already received significant funds. In 2011, the group Citizens for a Stronger America reported in its tax filing giving $235,000 to United Sportsmen.
I hear crickets coming from tightwad conservative voting groups...teatards, anyone....? Here's both WISC TV and WKOW's coverage:

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