Imagine the following scenario from the perspective of a “conservative,” “pro-life,” hunter, trapper, and wolf hating Wisconsinite.
Wisconsin has elected a progressive and pro-living wildlife governor and legislature. The governor has decided to appoint an outspoken living wildlife advocate as the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Upon assumption of the position the Secretary of the DNR decided to “reassign” most of the pro-hunting and trapping biologists and wardens along with filling her assistant positions with outspoken living wildlife advocates, former lobbyists from groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, and other outspoken animal welfare advocates. One of these assistants was a former state legislator responsible for an amendment to the state constitution that allowed for a guaranteed right for wildlife watchers to enjoy and protect wildlife and not be subjected to hunter harassment and intimidation. The agency is also now funded solely by wildlife watchers.
The next step in the governor’s revamp of the WDNR comes with her appointments to the Natural Resources Board. Upon the expiration of the terms of the current pro-hunting/anti-wolf board members, the governor decided to fill the board with pro-living wildlife advocates including the president and CEO of a pro-wildlife lobbying group, The Wildlife Watchers Rights Coalition, that pays lobbyists to argue on behalf of living wildlife before the legislature.
To take advantage of these changes the legislature introduced and approved, several laws banning or limiting barbaric hunting practices were enacted. These pieces of legislation included the ban on using dogs against any form of wildlife, the banning of trapping, and the requirement that all wildlife killed by hunters be consumed and not used as trophies. These bills were all passed and signed into law in record time. The Natural Resources Committees in both the Assembly and Senate gave the public 24 hours notice of their public hearings and rubber stamped the proposed laws despite massive opposition from hunters and their respective groups in the state. The DNR and Natural Resources Committees said that while public input is important, it really has no bearing on what is ultimately decided by them. After the laws were signed by the governor, they went before the Natural Resources Board. The Natural Resources Board received in excess of 3,000 letters voicing opposition to these laws but decided to ignore them and voted to approve all of the DNR recommendations on the laws.
The next step for the WDNR Secretary was to revamp the 17 “citizen advisory” committees that advise policy to the DNR. The Secretary has decided to place representatives of the HSUS, Defenders of Wildlife, PETA, Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic, Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf, and tribal representatives on these committees. One of those on several of the committees is a paid lobbyist for a “coalition” of groups that are very influential with several legislators. This lobbyist is a former state senator with a wind-tunnel tested hairdo, and he will be a member on 13 of the 17 committees. The lobbyist works for the Wildlife Watchers Rights Coalition ran by a member of the Natural Resources Board. The lobbyist is also notorious for making numerous controversial comments that offended many hunters and anti-wolf citizens. While the lobbyist claimed to represent the HSUS on the website for the Wildlife Watchers Rights Coalition, the HSUS claimed no ties with him or support for his offensive comments. The WDNR decided that none of the controversy or dishonesty mattered and allowed the paid lobbyist to remain on the 13 committees. Concerns by hunters and their affiliated groups were ignored by the WDNR and the paid lobbyist continued to “advise” the WDNR through the committee and wrote several pieces of anti-hunter legislation for pro-wildlife legislators.
Then there is the “citizen advisory” group known as the “Conservation Congress.” The Conservation Congress, once dominated by hunters and the groups that support them, has experienced a radical change and is now stacked with living wildlife advocates. In fact the leaders and spouses of most of the wildlife advocacy and lobbyist groups have been elected as “delegates” for the secretive group. These delegates include high ranking leaders of the most active pro-wildlife groups in the state, including those also represented on the DNR’s own “advisory” committees and the Natural Resources Board.
All of the above sure sounds crazy, corrupt, undemocratic, and certainly unethical, doesn’t it? But if you just switch the roles from living wildlife advocates to the anti-wildlife forces currently running this state each and every one of these things are currently occurring, and much worse than described above. This is how each of the above scenarios are occurring today:
- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker appointed former state legislator and real estate developer, Cathy Stepp, to the position of DNR Secretary. Upon taking over the position Stepp filled her deputy positions with pro-killing shills like Scott Gunderson who “authored” the Constitutional Amendment that allows the “right” to hunt, fish, and trap in the state. Stepp has also appointed numerous anti-wolf employees to prominent positions within the department and has excluded those with pro-wolf leanings from being involved any in the processes or having contact with the media.
- The Natural Resources Board is now being filled with appointees of Governor Walker that give new meaning to the term “conflict of interest.” Most prominent of all is Walker appointee, Greg Kazmierski, who is a hunting outfitter and the founder of the “Hunters Rights Coalition.” The HRC is a lobbying group that pays former state senator and he of the wind tunnel tested hairdo, Bob “Connecticut Effect” Welch, to lobby for their group. So for those not making the connection, Walker appointed a hunting outfitter that is also the founder of a lobbying group that lobbies on behalf of issues Kazmierski supports before the legislature. Kazmierski then can vote on rules and regulations that directly benefit himself financialy from his seat on the NRB. Don’t people in other states either recuse themselves when their is a conflict of interest? Don’t people in other states actually go to jail for this kind of “pay to play” behavior? I guess in Walker’s Wisconsin this is perfectly acceptable. How can this have not garnered more attention?
- And speaking of Bob Welch, he is considered a member on 13 or the 17 “advisory committees” that the DNR has set up. Not only is a paid lobbyist a “member” of supposedly “citizen based” committees, Welch also represents the “Hunters Rights Coalition,” and he also is the paid lobbyist for the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, and the Wisconsin Chapter of Safari Club International. And guess what? All of these groups take up individual spots on the various committees. So essentially the DNR is allowing the deck to be stacked from the get go by allowing one lobbyist to be a “member” representing all of these groups on the committee. What? Can someone explain to me how a PAID LOBBYIST is allowed to be on “citizen” and “science-based” committees?
- Continuing with Bob Welch (anyone sensing a pattern here?), how can we forget the nefarious bills that allowed Wisconsin wolves to be slaughtered and ALL state parked to be opened up to hunting and trapping for SEVEN MONTHS of the year? Welch and his bear hounder benefactors admitted before the Senate Natural Resources Committee that they and seven lawyers had written the wolf kill bill that Rep. Scott Suder (R-ALEC) claimed authorship of. There is also the fact that the bear hounders, George Meyer, and other anti-wolf factions knew about the “public hearing” in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee almost a week before the public was notified regarding this nefarious bill. The public was given 24 hours notice. So much for that “citizen input” they claim matters so much. Of course the bill went on to be rubber stamped by the Legislature, signed by Walker, and again rubber stamped by the Natural Resources Board, featuring Greg Kazmierski.
- And about the NRB. Amazing how the Board had received well over 3,000 letters and e-mails strongly opposed to the use of dogs against wolves, yet completely ignored them along with impassioned citizen testimony and again rubber stamped the use of dogs against wolves. And guess who was there speaking in support of the use of dogs against wolves? You guessed it Mr. Wind tunnel Tested Hairdo himself, Bob Welch. And of course guess who one of the voting members on the NRB was? None other than the one that pays Welch to lobby for the organization that he heads, Greg Kazmierski. Funny how the same names and the ties that bind them keep appearing.
- Finally, we come to the illustrious “citizen advisory” group known as the “Conservation Congress.” Not known to many citizens in the state, except for the hunting clubs, this group was legislatively enacted decades ago to be the “sole” citizen advisory to the DNR on wildlife issues. Unfortunately, this organization has essentially become a propaganda arm for the DNR and the killing cartels in the state. Look no further than the fact that the “congress” doesn’t advertise their yearly spring gatherings in each county as anything other than “hearings” when in reality they are elections for sending delegates to the group and for advisory questions. Because the group has long been dominated by the killing cartels in the state, the vast majority of the “advisory” questions are geared toward providing more and more killing opportunities and less and less restrictions on those activities. On April 8th of this year the election of pro-wildlife delegates from the counties of Dane, Milwaukee, and Polk sent shock waves through the good old boy club. Gasp! The pro-killing factions now control over 300 of the seats and wildlife advocates control five. If you read the “outdoor” pages you would have thought our side ran the tables and now control the entire group. But as expected if the killing cartels do not have 100% control they scream doom and gloom for their “heritage.” And their is this little tidbit as well. As it turns out many of the “delegates’ for this “citizen advisory” group come directly from the killing cartels like the dubiously named “Wisconsin Wildlife Federation” including one of that groups leaders, Ralph Fritsch, who is a “delegate” from Onconto County. And to top it all off, the wife of the WWF head, George Meyer, is a delegate from Dane County. So the killing cartels even have their tentacles entrenched firmly in this supposedly “citizen advisory” group.
So what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if wildlife advocates behaved and legislated in the manner that is currently occurring on our state? We would be called “undemocratic” and be accused of ignoring the “will of the people.” Just try to fathom the outrage. Yet, this is exactly what is happening in Wisconsin this very day. Corrupt, undemocratic, and unethical behavior is the norm when it comes to the DNR, NRB, and the state legislature. The ties that bind the DNR, the NRB, the legislature, the killing cartels, and their lobbyists are plain to see. Wake up Wisconsin. We need to expose these blatant unethical and corrupt practices that seem to have become the norm in our state.
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