Where’s The Money?

wolflobby_The Salt Lake Tribune

 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

Legislators OK audit of state payments to Big Game Forever.

By Brian Maffly

The Salt Lake Tribune

 First Published Jul 08 2013 05:01 pm • Updated 4 hours ago

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.

Click HERE to read more


Photo: Courtesy The Salt Lake Tribune

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: Utah Legislator Audit,  Big Game Forever, Ryan Benson, Don Peay, anti-wolf lobby

Too Bad “Utah Legislature” – 74% Of Utahns Want To Bring Wolves Home….

wolvescartoon The Daily Utah Chronicle

The Daily Utah Chronicle – Luigi Ghersi

Big Game Forever, Don Peay and the Utah Legislature may want to stop wolves from returning to Utah but 74% of the state’s citizens are in favor of reintroduction. (hjnews.com)

The only thing that disturbed me about this opinion piece was this quote:

“The prime number of wolves for the available habitat space in Utah is 200. This amount would allow optimal growth of the species. Anymore would create an influx, which was most likely the problem with the Yellowstone restoration of wolves.”

It’s always about the end game, the day when wolves reach some magical number and then the slaughter begins.  That’s what we’re fighting in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes. Wolves are never going to be safe under state management.

  Mexican gray wolves need to expand beyond the Blue Range Recovery Area that’s choking with cattle. If they are to return to Utah,  these highly endangered wolves must remain protected under the ESA, otherwise in a few years they’d be facing the same brutality wolves are experiencing in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes. Once their numbers grow the “sportsmen” will decide it’s time to break out the guns!

But salient points were also made.

“Wolves had been a part of Utah’s ecosystem since before the pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock — before Utah was even a state. They used to freely roam the whole state — until humans pushed them to the brink of extinction.”

“Tourism is one example of additional economic benefits that would result from reintroducing wolves to Utah’s ecosystem. Our state parks would see a dramatic increase in the total amount of visitors per year, bringing in more revenue to the state.”

I think Mexican grays should return to Utah but only if they remain protected from wolf hunts.


Mexican gray wolf should be reintroduced in Utah



Cartoon: Courtesy The Daily Utah ChronicleLuigi Ghersi

Posted in: Wolf Wars, biodiversity

Tags: Mexican gray wolves, highly endangered wolves, Utah legislature, Big Game Forever, Don Peay

It’s Likely SFW Founder Will Be Paid $300,000 Taxpayer Dollars To Lobby Against Wolves….

See Above: Big Game Forever Got The Same Amount Last Year To Lobby Against Wolves…Salt Lake Tribune

Update: March 10, 2013

It looks like SFW founder, Don Peay, will be getting a nice fat check, $300,000 to be exact, of taxpayer money,  thanks to the Utah Legislature’s ” natural resources budget committee”,  to lobby against wolves. Don Peay is also a founder of Big Game Forever.

The Democrats tried their best to remove the money from the spending plan, but to no avail.

Last year, $300,000 was awarded to Big Game Forever to lobby against wolves.  Deja vu’?

And where’s the accountability?

“After hearing a similar pitch from Big Game Forever co-founder Ryan Benson, the Legislature last year appropriated $300,000 to fund wolf-related lobbying, with virtually no oversight of precisely how the money was used or what it accomplished.“…Salt Lake Tribune


“The wolf-lobby contract does require Big Game Forever to submit a report to DWR summarizing its accomplishments and giving an update on wolf-related legislation — but it is not due until June 30, 2013.

Now the Legislature is moving toward appropriating an additional $300,000.

There are no Washington lobbyists currently registered for Big Game Forever and have been none since April 1, 2011.

At a Feb. 21 appropriations hearing, Peay gave a vague response when asked about the work his group has accomplished with this money.

“It’s been used to do a very complex, political, legal, grass-roots effort,” he said. The current line item comes at the request of Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, who did not respond to an email request for comment.”….The Salt Lake Tribune

I’ll be waiting with baited breath to read the June 2013 report showing BGF’s  “accomplishments” pertaining to the $300,000 award.

How is this not a conflict of interest?  How can the Utah legislature condone these kind of shenanigans by giving taxpayer money to openly anti-wolf advocates? Is Utah in the wolf hating business, where few if any wolves reside?  It’s absolutely outrageous.

Over a quarter of a million dollars will likely be paid to an anti wolf  advocate,  so he can turn around and lobby for wolf delisting across the country?



If you live in Utah please contact Governor Gary Herbert and ask him why large sums of your taxpayer dollars are being handed out to anti-wolf advocates with little oversight, when few if any wolves reside in Utah?

Governor Gary R. Herbert


If you live outside of Utah, please contact their tourism bureau with your concerns.

Utah Office of Tourism
Council Hall/Capitol Hill
300 North State
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Tourism Questions: 801-538-1030
or 800-200-1160


Just cry wolf

The Salt Lake Tribune Opinion

Your cash for the asking

First Published 5 hours ago • Updated 1 hour ago
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary — H.L. Mencken

One of those imaginary hobgoblins is being trotted about on Capitol Hill by legislators and a sportsmen’s group who are pointing at it and sounding the alarm, which goes something like this: Citizens of Utah, the wolf is at the door. But don’t be alarmed. We’re going to make sure he stays there. We just need to take $300,000 of your tax money and hand it over to this sportsmen’s group. They’ll know what to do with it, and you’ll all be safe, at least until next year.

This the second year in a row that someone from Big Game Forever, a Utah-based nonprofit hunting advocacy group, has shown up at the Utah Legislature with his hand out, spouting dire, wholly suspect warnings that the federal government is considering reintroducing the gray wolf to the Beehive State.

The group’s founder, Don Peay, told the Legislature’s natural resources budget committee last week that the money is needed to lobby the feds against such a move. “They want to put Mexican wolves in Utah because the Mexicans don’t want them,” he told lawmakers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says such claims are overblown.

But Peay’s pitch for public money to fight this four-legged hobgoblin doesn’t require much more from him than to cry wolf, just as the organization did last year and was promptly handed $300,000 with virtually no questions asked. At an appropriations hearing last month, when someone had the temerity to ask Peay what last year’s $300,000 had bought the state, he saw no reason to get specific.

Read more: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/55974763-82/utah-group-wolf-300000.html.csp


Legislators steering another $300,000 to anti-wolf crusade

Politics » Private group says it needs the money to lobby federal officials against the predator’s reintroduction.
First Published Mar 07 2013 06:41 pm • Last Updated Mar 08 2013 05:15 pm

By Brian Maffly

| The Salt Lake Tribune

Although no one is proposing to reintroduce the gray wolf in Utah, lawmakers want to spend $300,000 for the second consecutive year to lobby federal officials against such a move, arguing that the return of wolves, extirpated almost a century ago, would wipe out big game.

The line item, listed among priority one-time spending requests from the Legislature’s natural resources budget committee, has drawn ridicule from conservationists and citizens who say these expenditures are a silly misuse of tax dollars that could be invested in education or other worthy programs.

“Utah is not overrun with wolves, but it is overrun with children in classrooms,” said Marlene Foard, a 33-year Salt Lake City school teacher dismayed that Utah remains at the bottom among states in per-pupil spending. But Don Peay, the influential anti-wolf advocate seeking the money, says the Utah economy could take a massive hit should wolves, protected in Utah under the Endangered Species Act, gain a foothold.

“It’s destroying jobs, private property and rural economies,” said Peay, a founder of Big Game Forever,a Salt Lake City-based nonprofit organization told the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality budget committee, referring to what he claims is unfolding in Idaho since the successful wolf reintroduction in the Yellowstone region. “We want to keep Utah a great place to hunt and fish.”

After hearing a similar pitch from Big Game Forever co-founder Ryan Benson, the Legislature last year appropriated $300,000 to fund wolf-related lobbying, with virtually no oversight of precisely how the money was used or what it accomplished. Big Game Forever submitted the only bid to do this lobbying on July 28, 2012, and won the one-year contract four days later.




U.S. News

Utah budget to support anti-wolf measure

Published: March. 10, 2013 at 5:55 PM
SALT LAKE CITY, March 10 (UPI) — A $300,000 Utah budget line item that would finance efforts to prevent the reintroduction of gray wolves to the state is headed for final votes, officials said.

The funding is being pushed even though federal officials say no wolf-reintroduction program is being proposed for Utah, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday.

On Friday, Democratic lawmakers tried fruitlessly to strike the money from the spending plan. The measure, which the Tribune said was little-scrutinized, was adopted by the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee.

“It seems like a waste. It’s another challenge to federal authority to protect wildlife. The problem isn’t even here,” said Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, the Senate minority leader.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/03/10/Utah-budget-to-support-anti-wolf-measure/UPI-56901362952557/#ixzz2NDByQ4tM

Anti-wolf group likely to get second $300,000 Utah payment

Politics » Money is included in budget despite Dems’ insistence project is a “waste.”

By Brian Maffly

The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Mar 10 2013 01:01 am • Last Updated Mar 10 2013 01:01 am

A $300,000 line item to fund efforts to prevent wolves from being “reintroduced” in Utah as part of a federal gray wolf-recovery effort will be included in the budget headed for final votes in the next few days.

Democratic lawmakers on Friday unsuccessfully attempted to strip the money from the spending plan. Without debate, and on a party-line vote, the little-scrutinized project was adopted by the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee, made up of leaders of the House and Senate.

“It seems like a waste,” said Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City. “It’s another challenge to federal authority to protect wildlife. The problem isn’t even here.”

The $300,000 appropriation — the second in as many years for the anti-wolf campaign — was recommended by Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe.

An outspoken critic of wolves — who also was sponsor of last year’s so-called “Mule Deer Protection Act,” more than doubling the $20 bounty on coyotes — Okerlund received $6,500 in campaign donations last year from the two men requesting the funding.

Read More: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55974984-78/wolf-forever-game-utah.html.csp


URGENT: SFW Founder Requests Taxpayer Money To Lobby For Wolf Delisting…

March 6, 2013


Photo: Courtesy Salt Lake Tribue
Posted in: Wolf Wars
Tags: Don Peay,  SFW, Big Game Forever, $300,000 to lobby against wolves, Utah legislature, wolf wars, tax payer money
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