CHICAGO, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The state Department of Natural Resources is misdirecting money from a tax paid by sportsmen to some expenses far from the intent of the federal law overseeing those funds, a new investigative report has found.
The Illinois Policy Institute looked closely at millions of dollars being spent in recent years under the Pittman-Robertson Act, which authorizes an 11 percent tax on guns, ammunition and fishing equipment to fund and promote sportsmen's pursuits. Rather than using the money as intended, the Institute's investigation revealed the DNR is funneling the funds to two state universities, who are studying foraging by mute swans and ways to better count ground squirrels. In addition, DNR also used the funds to convert paper documents into an electronic format, maintain websites and poll the public on policies and regulations. And that's only a glimpse at the misguided spending. The agency provided only partial information from an open-records request by the Institute and then – along with Gov. Pat Quinn's office – refused to explain and answer questions about the spending.
Several local and national sportsmen's organizations told the Institute it's clear the report confirms their suspicions and questions about misspending of these funds.
"The crime for me is that they've done this for years," said Dr. David Pike, immediate-past president of the Champaign County Rifle Association. "This is not something recent, just happening now. They have a history of this. Those with oversight of these funds have been irresponsible."
The Institute calls on the agency and administration to explain where the money is going and immediately fix the problematic decisions sending the funds in the wrong directions.
"Illinoisans are more frustrated than ever with officials who won't spend their money as they intended. This is a great example of leadership gone awry. Sportsmen have agreed to invest through this dedicated tax because they believe in the programs that are supposed to be funded. Directing this money elsewhere is unacceptable, and so is refusing to explain why these bad decisions are being made," said Lee Williams, investigative reporter with the Illinois Policy Institute who conducted the report.
The full report can be found at http://illinoispolicy.org/blog/blog.asp?ArticleSource=3446
About the Illinois Policy Institute
The Illinois Policy Institute is a nonpartisan research and education organization dedicated to making our state a beacon for liberty and prosperity for all citizens. As a leading voice for economic liberty and government accountability, we engage policy makers, opinion leaders, and citizens on the state and local level by promoting free market principles and liberty-based public policy initiatives for a better Illinois. To learn more about our organization or review our policy briefs, please visit our website at www.illinoispolicy.org.
SOURCE Illinois Policy Institute