Governor Scott Walker has ordered the state Department of Natural Resources to reverse a decision to award a $500,000 grant to the United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation, Inc.
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp announced last week that she would approve the grant, but reversed course late Thursday night after the governor asked her not to finalize the award. Stepp says she and the governor both agreed that any group receiving financial support from the state must “have the trust of the public in its capabilities to produce concrete results.”
The Foundation was the only applicant for the grant, which is aimed at promoting the state’s sporting heritage. Lawmakers and conservation groups protested its selection though because the Foundation has no history of providing the training the grant is aimed at and has ties to conservative lobbying efforts. The controversy escalated this week after it the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the group lied about its status as a non-profit and its president had been cited in 2006 for hunting with an improper license.
Stepp maintains in a statement that the Foundation did and does still meet the statutory criteria for the grant. The award was created under the state budget Governor Walker signed into law earlier this summer.
Stepp says the governor has directed the DNR to explore other plans to recruit the next generation of sportsmen and sportswomen.