Wisconsin cancels contract for sports promotion group with GOP ties

Sept. 6, 2013 at 8:26 PM

MADISON, Wis., Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Gov. Scott Walker has canceled a $500,000 grant for promoting outdoor sports given to a group with links to Republican politicians, the governor's office said.

The cancellation was announced late Thursday, hours after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel began asking state officials about a 2005 citation against the president of the group -- United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation Inc. -- for hunting without a license.

Walker had initially approved the grant for United Sportsmen, the one bidder for the grant, even though it has little experience offering the instruction terms the grant called for, the newspaper said.

Natural Resources Department Secretary Cathy Stepp said in a statement Walker canceled the grant and ordered the department to find other ways to offer the instruction to new hunters and anglers the grant is intended to provide.

DNR Chief Warden Randy Stark confirmed Thursday that United Sportsmen President Andy Pantzlaff was cited for hunting with the wrong license in September 2005, and was convicted and fined.

Pantzlaff and United Sportsmen apologized Wednesday for misrepresenting the federal tax-exempt status to state officials in applying for the grant, the Journal Sentinel said.

The newspaper reported last week United Sportsmen has close ties to Republican politicians and other conservative organizations.

Rep. Nick Milroy, the ranking Democrat on the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, said "natural resources management has become" politicized under Walker, a Republican.

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