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Report: United Sportsmen Foundation doesn't have federal non-profit status

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A group that was awarded a controversial state grant does not have the federal non-profit status it claims to have.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, newly-released documents show that the United Sportsmen Foundation misrepresented its tax status, when it sought a half-million dollars in tax money to promote hunting and fishing.

The group applied for a federal non-profit tax designation on March 1st – and state officials were told the tax status would be confirmed later.

On August 22nd, the paper said the IRS rejected the group’s request to speed up its application. The grant – and who does and doesn’t qualify for it – were spelled out by the governor and GOP legislators in the new state budget.

Because of that, the DNR says it will award the grant to the United Sportsmen anyway. The group was the only one to apply for the money, and critics accused Republicans of greasing the skids to make sure the United Sportsmen won the award.

Assembly Republican Al Ott of Forest Junction, who voted for the grant in a committee last week, said he understood that the tax status was not required to win the funding. Still, Ott said he’s disappointed the group misled lawmakers and its potential donors.

For now, at least, those donors will not be able to write off contributions to the United Sportsmen on their income tax returns.