wisconsin capitol
Press Release
September 9, 2013
Media Contact
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
(608) 444-3483
One Wisconsin Now

Scandal Surrounding Gov. Walker’s Attempt to Reward Political Allies Deepens

Far Past Time for Gov. Walker to Answer the Mounting Questions'

MADISON, Wis. — The scandal surrounding Gov. Walker’s attempt to reward an organization that endorsed him in his 2012 recall election with $500,000 in state tax dollars in the 2013-15 budget continues to grow. Breaking news reports today reveal that the group in question may in fact be a for-profit corporation that received at least $235,000 in income in 2011, courtesy of the right-wing Citizens for a Strong America. Yet according to information from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, there is no record of the United Sportsmen of Wisconsin filing a tax return or paying any income taxes for 2011 or 2012.

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Maybe Gov. Walker hasn’t noticed the stench of this scandal back home because he’s been spending so much time out of the state raising money. But it’s far past time for Gov. Walker to visit Wisconsin and answer the mounting questions about his sleazy attempt to reward his political allies with our state tax dollars.”

The following is a brief timeline of events in the latest, and growing, scandal surrounding Gov. Walker’s administration:

June 13, 2011: United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation, Inc. files incorporation papers with the state of Wisconsin.

June 16, 2011: United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, Inc. files incorporation papers with the state of Wisconsin.

August 2011: United Sportsmen of Wisconsin sends out an absentee ballot application to voters in advance of State Senate recall elections that could tip the majority from Republicans to Democrats. The applications include erroneous dates and seem to have targeted Democratic leaning voters. The material, and their errors, are nearly identical to similar mailings distributed by the group Americans for Prosperity.

September 20, 2011: United Sportsmen of Wisconsin registers a lobbyist with state ethics and election law regulators.

May 9, 2012: United Sportsmen of Wisconsin endorses Gov. Walker in his recall election.

January 11, 2013: United Sportsmen of Wisconsin again register to lobby the legislature. Their efforts will include working on behalf of Gov. Walker’s declared top priority for the session — legislation to help an out-of-state mining company develop a four-mile wide pit mine in an environmentally sensitive area of Northern Wisconsin.

May 29, 2013: A provision quietly slipped into the budget under the direction of Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder creates a taxpayer funded grant to promote hunting and fishing.

June 6, 2013: Change made to statutory language removing a requirement that the organization receiving the state grant have 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit under the federal tax code.

June 30, 2013: Gov. Walker signs the 2013-15 budget, including the provision providing tax dollars to United Sportsmen of Wisconsin. The Governor partially vetoes a provision allowing federal tax dollars be issued to fund a portion of the grant, as that could impact the group receiving its ability to restrict or cease their lobbying activity.

August 2, 2013: Deadline for applications to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the state grant.

August 21, 2013: Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, author of grant provision included in the state budget provision, announces he will be leaving the legislature to accept a job in the Walker administration. The previous employee in the position accepted by Suder earned $97,500 — nearly double Suder’s salary as a state legislator.

August 25, 2013: News reports reveal that the budget provisions creating the grant were crafted to exclude numerous other qualified non-profit organizations and that the DNR never publicized the availability of the grant or solicited applicants outside of a posting on their website. The sole applicant was United Sportsmen of Wisconsin. The group had little to no experience in running the programming to be funded by the grant, but has extensive GOP political connections.

August 29, 2013: The grant to United Sportsmen of Wisconsin is approved despite mounting questions about the group. Gov. Walker’s appointee to run the DNR, former GOP state legislator Cathy Stepp, in announcing the award of the $500,000 to United Sportsmen of Wisconsin declares the grantee has met all legal requirements to receive state tax dollars.

September 3, 2013: Despite the revelation that their application for status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit group, allegedly filed in March 2013, has not been approved, Gov. Walker’s DNR notifies United Sportsmen of Wisconsin they will be receiving $50,000 as a first installment of the $500,000 called for in the state budget.

September 5, 2013: Walker declares that, while in Seattle, Washington making a speech to a right-wing think tank, he has ordered the grant to United Sportsmen of Wisconsin rescinded.

September 10, 2013: With Gov. Walker again out-of-state, additional reporting raises more questions about United Sportsmen of Wisconsin and strongly indicates that the group is in fact a for-profit corporation. In addition it is revealed that there are no records of the group filing or paying taxes in either 2011 or 2012, despite having received at least $235,000 in income in 2011 and spending over $25,000 to lobby state legislators in 2012.

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

us capitol building
Press Release

Gov. Scott Walker Joins ‘If It’s True’ Crowd

Meanwhile in an interview broadcast on Sunday, Gov. Scott Walker, joined those offering aid and comfort to Moore by falling back on the “if it’s true” refrain.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
11/13/2017
scott walker in a hole
Press Release

One Wisconsin Now Statements on Gov. Scott Walker Signing Foxconn Contract

Scott Walker literally signed away our future, agreeing to a contract to send billions of our tax dollars to boost the bottom line of a foreign corporation.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
11/10/2017
ron johnson
Press Release

Ron Johnson’s Failure to Confront Sexual Abuse of Women & Children Continues

Ron Johnson Offers Only Qualified Condemnation of Sourced Reporting of Abuse of Teens, Minor Women by GOP U.S. Senate Candidate Roy Moore
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
11/10/2017
wisconsin over money
Press Release

Rigged Bid Delivers Contract for Scott Walker’s Campaign Treasurer

A consulting firm owned by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign treasurer Kate Lind received a state contract for services, after being the only one to bid on it.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
11/09/2017
scot ross tv still
In the News

Bill would lower drinking age in Wisconsin to 19

Scot Ross, who leads the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, says the bill sends the wrong message about the state's drinking culture.
WKOW-TV
11/09/2017
university of wisconsin bascom hall
Press Release

UW Students Blast Regents Policy Threatening Free Speech on Campuses

UW students and free speech advocates are organizing to fight back against new restrictions on speech being imposed system wide by the Board of Regents
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Institute
11/08/2017
signing contract
Press Release

Before Ink Dry on Contract, Scott Walker Running from Foxconn Deal

Scott Walker Can Run From Deal, But Voters Won’t Let Him Hide From His Giveaway to Foreign Corporation
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
11/08/2017
Student Loan Debt Graduation Cap and Money
Press Release

Americans Over Age 60 Fastest Growing Demographic for Student Loan Debt

A study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finds that borrowers over age 60 is the age demographic in which debt is growing the fastest.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
11/07/2017