Don Peay of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, right, speaks before the House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee. Peay is a founder of Big Game Forever, an anti-wolf advocacy group, who is seeking $300,000 from the Legislature. (Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo)
It’s about damn time they conduct an audit!
Audit launched into anti-wolf funding
By Brian Maffly
The Salt Lake Tribune
Legislative leaders on Monday ordered an audit to examine how a political-action organization has spent Utah taxpayers’ money in an ongoing effort to wrest control of wolf management from federal hands.
Big Game Forever, a Utah-based nonprofit that spun off Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife in 2010, has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in state money during the past four years to evict the gray wolf from the endangered species list. But the group’s founders Don Peay and Ryan Benson have not disclosed where the money goes in their reports to the Legislature and to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR).
State auditors have already made informal inquiries into how the group spent a $300,000 appropriation for fiscal year 2013. But because Big Game Forever “commingles” its funds from multiple sources, it might not be possible to determine exactly what Utah taxpayers’ money bought, according to Legislative Auditor General John Schaff.
“How do I know that receipt is for state money versus funds coming from other sources?” Schaff told the legislative audit subcommittee Monday. “The problem is this is a private company. We have authority to look at state funding. We don’t have authority to look at funding from other sources.”
This did not sit well with Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, who requested the audit.
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Photo: Courtesy The Salt Lake Tribune
Posted in: Wolf Wars
Tags: Utah Legislator Audit, Big Game Forever, Ryan Benson, Don Peay, anti-wolf lobby