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Controversial Sportsmen's Group Asking for Exemption from Penalties
Monday, January 13th, 2014 -- 8:18 am
Posted by Riley Hebert-News Director

-(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) A controversial sportsmen's group is asking the federal government for a hardship exemption from penalties for having botched its tax filings.

The United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, which won and then lost a $500,000 state grant, had to repeatedly clarify its tax status last fall after the Milwaukee Journal reported it had misrepresented that status and failed to make the required federal filings.

The group last week turned over its filings to the newspaper as required by federal tax rules, some four months after they were first requested. The filings show that the group paid $118,400 in 2011 to an out-of-state Republican consultant, had only one donor in 2011 and ran a $29,000 deficit in 2012 just before seeking the taxpayer-funded grant for teaching state residents to hunt and fish.

United Sportsmen, a three-year-old group with close ties to GOP insiders, won the grant even though it had little experience in outdoors training and had focused its activities on political work and lobbying for Republican-backed bills such as one to open the way for an open pit iron mine.

In a letter last month to the federal Internal Revenue Service provided by Annette Olson, the secretary-treasurer for United Sportsmen, the group argued it shouldn't face penalties despite its mistakes and misrepresentations.

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