As reported in the Wisconsin State Journal last Sunday, there's a growing suspicion that the Department of Natural Resources under Gov. Scott Walker has morphed into an agency that makes major decisions based not on what's best for Wisconsin's environmental future, but on pure unadulterated politics.

Two recent departmental decisions were used as examples. The first was the letting of a $500,000 grant to a well-connected Republican front group — United Sportsmen of Wisconsin — although it had flimsy credentials and even fibbed about having a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. The outcry against the contract became so loud that Walker himself told the DNR last week to yank the grant.

The second was the decision by the DNR to terminate a longtime arrangement with the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation to run the MacKenzie Environmental Education Center in Poynette. The federation, which has sometimes been critical of the DNR's actions, had received $239,000 a year to conduct wildlife tours and seminars mainly for Wisconsin school children.

The Walker appointees in charge of DNR, of course, called the two actions purely coincidental and denied that politics had anything to do with either decision.

This administration's record of chalking up "pants on fire" ratings from fact checkers may lead one to be a bit skeptical of that claim.

What was even more interesting in the State Journal story was a quote attributed to the Assembly's leading mining advocate, Sen. Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst. Tiffany, who was a key legislator in the fight to weaken environmental safeguards so the mine could proceed, had the audacity to insist that all state grants to nonprofits ought to be ended.

They're a drain on taxpayers, he told the newspaper, and often the nonprofits don't do the Legislature's bidding.

Here's just one more example of the thinking of the ideologues who run state government these days. They'd do away with grants to nonprofit organizations that help with preserving parkland and promoting conservation efforts.

But they never question lavish grants and gifts and favors to big corporations like the GTAC mine owners. In fact, as we saw earlier this year in the audit of Scott Walker's Economic Development Corporation, they don't even keep tabs on where the money is going.

To them, somehow corporate welfare isn't a drain to taxpayers. 

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com

Dave is editor emeritus of The Capital Times.

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(8) comments

rick
rick

thinking about your post. since they are all on walker's staff maybe they are all vacationing in Japan and away from the taxpayer owned computers. or....talking to their lawyers to stay out of jail for various fraud charges. Maybe there is an ALEC convention going on.

rick
rick

Let me help you out Wis Taxpayer....it's all Obama's fault, the unions were in on it, those money grubbing teachers had their hands in it, that terrible lefy newspaper is lying, all that loud singing made them do it. that should make it all better now.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

I wonder where Tomtom and Gotch and Lynne4300 all are? it must be a busy day for snake oil sales somewhere else.

Mr_Deeks
Mr_Deeks

Senseless comments from progs do not warrant replies from the Pros. You are always repeating the same horse pucky with every post on every subject. Why don't you just pipe down, vote and accept the will of the majority. Normal folks grow weary of you and pals like Nav, F or F, and the rest.

witness2012
witness2012

Absolute corruption. We need to take the state back and restore Wisconsin values of fairness and balance among all citizens.

davea
davea

Tell it like it is: "PAY to PLAY

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

We hear that mantra from the right more and more these days....

From "pull yourselves up by your boot straps"

To "taking individual responsibility"

all in the name of getting rid of welfare.... unless it's corporate welfare!

Republicans in the House blocked the repeal of corporate welfare to the tune of billions to oil corporations.

Republicans here in Wisconsin have no problem with corporate welfare for giant agriculture corporations.

Or corporate welfare through Walker's WEDC throwing millions at corporations... so much so they can't even keep track of it.

Right now it's throwing money at the mining corporations to lure them to Wisconsin to destroy our natural forests and wildlife.

Yes, we hear terms like "Welfare Queens" being thrown around again by the right in order to demonize people who need assistance, but these same people who demonize the poor just love to throw our tax payer money in the form of corporate welfare to these big corporations.....

I guess it all boils down to, when Democrats use tax payer money to help the poor and the less fortunate, so they can get back on their feet it's called some kind of evil welfare by the right.

But when Republicans use that same tax payer money for corporate welfare for corporations that don't need any help, what happens.... some of that money finds it's way back to the Republicans in the form of "donations" some of them illegal, like from a certain railroad owner...and on and on and on.

As long as tax payer money finds it's way back to the Republicans directly from the "welfare" given to them by Republicans, this won't end.

Unless of course the Republicans simply take our hard earned tax payer money and give it to the Republican party directly.... I'm sure they are working on a way to do that over at the Heritage Foundation right now.

After all, they have found a way to block a lot of Democrats from voting already by their made up "voter fraud" lie. If you have to cheat in order to win.... it's not a win.

Mike123
Mike123

Keep hammering Dave; there are many voters in the state of Wisconsin with thick sloping brain caps...

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