Sunday, September 1, 2013

If you thought that Koch front group wasn't seamy enough....

Apparently the corrupt assclowns at United Sportsmen of Wisconsin can't even get their nonprofit application to set up their dishonest organization. You may remember these guys, who seem to be nothing more than a Koch front group with a whiff of Wisconsin election fraud in their history, but had a $500,000 taxpayer-funded grant for "hunting and fishing education" funneled to them by a Legislative earmark, and approved by Gov. Walker. Here's the high-quality follow-up on United Sportsmen's $500,000 slush fund , as the Journal-Sentinel's Jason Stein covered the DNR's Sporting Heritage Committee meeting on Friday where a majority decided to give United Sportsmen the grant, and Stein was given the latitude by his J-S bosses to describe what really happened.
[Committee member Mark] LaBarbera asked United Sportsmen president Andy Pantzlaff if he could provide a copy of United Sportsmen's letter from the federal Internal Revenue Service showing it had received tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status. Pantzlaff, who called into the meeting, said he could provide that with enough time.

As of Thursday, there was no entry on the popular website, GuideStar, that United Sportsmen had filed the annual reports that federally recognized tax-exempt groups are supposed to file with the IRS, though sometimes those reports can lag in being filed or posted to GuideStar. Pantzlaff didn't respond to a reporter's phone messages and email request for this information.

The drafting file for the budget bill shows that a lawmaker asked for a specific change to the grant motion so the group receiving the grant would not have to be recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

In the legal memo released by [DNR Secretary] Stepp, her chief legal counsel Tim Andryk noted that, "(United Sportsmen is) not required by the statute to be tax exempt or be a sec. 501(c)(3) organization as inquired about at today's hearing, and thus a letter from IRS is not needed."
So because a certain lawmaker (cough- SCOTT SUDER -cough) made these changes to the grant, United Sportsmen can just pop up and get this grant while other qualified organizations are eliminated from consideration. How conveeeee-nient

Of course, if these guys at United Sportsmen can't be trusted to put in the right paperwork in time, why in the world should we trust them to carry out the "educational" functions of this grant? Especially when we already know the vast majority of this grant will pay for "consultants" like former Suder staffer Luke Hilgemann, who just took a job as the number 2 nationwide guy at the Kochs' Americans for Prosperity. Earlier, Hilgemann left Suder's legislative office to head up the Wisconsin version of the Astroturf group, and after Suder announced that he would leave the Legislature to get a big raise as a Walker appointee to the Pblic Service Commission, AFP-Wisconsin's page put up a nice "thank you" message to Suder, and said they were "looking forward to working with him" in his new job.

But I'm sure the fact that there are all these connections between Suder, Koch groups, and United Sportsmen with this tailor-made grant are total coincidence, and I really shouldn't be making that kind of stretch, should I?

Oh yeah, let's mention the other fun part of this United Sportsmen scam. It wants to be a 501(c)(3) organization - if it ever gets its documentation in (if you believe their cover story). As this website on this organizations notes, being a 501(c)(3) means
Strict rules apply to both the activities and the governance of these organizations. No part of the activities or the net earnings can unfairly benefit any director, officer, or any private individual, and no officer or private individual can share in the distribution of any of the corporate assets in the event the organization shuts down.

Further, lobbying, propaganda or other legislative activity must be kept relatively insubstantial[5]. Intervention in political campaigns or the endorsement/anti-endorsement of candidates for public office is strictly prohibited.
Being a 501(c)(3) also allows United Sportsmen to hide who their donors are, evade taxes, and even give a tax write-off to the people who fund. Which makes having this organization be a really good way to launder money to the campaign workers and GOP operatives that they'll hire for "educational" purposes.

And now us taxpayers are funding these guys for half a million dollars, with more to continue in later years unless specific legislation stops it. Sounds like Charlie Sykes has Exhibit A for his example of "A Nation of Moochers", now doesn't he? But somehow I'm thinking Chuckles won't really say much about this, given that this is the kind of cronyist grift he and his fellow Bradley boys LOVE.

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