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Feds withold $1 million grant from DNR

September 25, 2008 at 11:21 AM

The State Journal-Register

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will not receive a $1 million federal grant until it tells the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service what happened to nearly $600,000 in hunting and fishing license money that may have been spent improperly.

DNR funds are among those targeted by the legislature to be “swept” of extra money to pay for other state expenses.

Until it gets an answer — and a plan from DNR to fix the problem — the Fish and Wildlife Service said it is holding up a grant to help build a boat-access point at Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton.

To receive a share of federal excise taxes on sporting goods, states must agree not to spend hunting and fishing license revenue on things other than wildlife and sport fish restoration projects.

That means even some operations of DNR cannot be paid for with license funds.

An audit conducted by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the 2003-04 fiscal year turned up the problem, and DNR has failed to respond with a satisfactory answer since correspondence started between the state and federal agencies in December 2006, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

“It’s entirely possible we will get the answer to the license fee question and get the satisfactory corrective action,” Bob Bryant, chief of wildlife and sport fish restoration for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said Wednesday. “We can’t give them this grant until they tell us.”

“DNR constantly communicates with a number of federal agencies on an ongoing basis on a number of issues,” said that agency’s spokesman, Chris McCloud. “This is currently an issue that is a pending internal issue between the department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

A proposal to redirect extra money, or “sweep,” special state funds to help close the state’s budget gap included funds administered by DNR that had federal restrictions attached.

Such sweeps in the past have been challenged.

Susan Donovan of The Nature Conservancy estimated that $14.6 million in federal matching funds could be lost if the state took money from funds like the Wildlife and Fish Fund, State Migratory Waterfowl Stamp Fund and Pheasant Fund to pay Illinois’ bills.

Analysis by the state Office of Management and Budget found that those funds were due to be swept for $6.25 million.

Donovan said other funds still on the list for sweeps may also have federal dollars attached, including the DNR Special Projects Fund ($500,000), Habitat Endowment Trust Fund ($2 million), Illinois Habitat Fund ($1 million), and Fish and Wildlife Endowment Fund ($500,000).

Bryant said DNR has made resolving issues, such as the proposal to close about a dozen state parks, difficult by not allowing its employees to talk to his agency.

“Some DNR employees have told us recently that they are under a gag order and they can’t really talk about this,” he said. “We were informed that we would have to talk to others higher up.

“The information was available. It was just not available from the people we usually talk to.”

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I can hear it now,
“Mr. Flood, we’re waiting for your answer.”

“I don’t recall at this time.”

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/25 at 03:17 PM

it’s just sad to see what this administration has done to the dnr while in power….....

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/25 at 03:27 PM

Actually, it goes like this “Mr Flood” what have you and the Illinois Governor done with the money?

Floods reply “It went to Rod’s re-election fund and his defense fund and I think some went to the hit man that was suppose to take Rezko out.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/25 at 03:36 PM

Keep your fingers crossed fellows!
Sep 24, 2008 10:31 pm US/Centra

Possible Evidence To Indict Gov. Blagojevich
CHICAGO (CBS) ― A source tells CBS 2 News Wednesday night that a team of federal agents believes it has the evidence needed to indict Governor Rod Blagojevich. Investigators believe they’ve established solid evidence of fraud and conspiracy.

However, they are not the ones who make the decision to prosecute. It’s up to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and the Justice Department in Washington.

Others have told CBS 2 that an indictment of Blagojevich is not imminent. No comment from the Justice Department.

Last week, CBS 2 reported that the IRS assigned three teams of investigators to the Blagojevich case. But the governor says he’s confident he has not broken any laws or rules. He says he’s been careful to file accurate tax returns.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/25 at 04:21 PM

Ummm, I had to use it to pay for my flights from Chicago…but really I was coming to Springfield to support conservation efforts that qualify for those funds…yeah…yeah… that’s the story.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/26 at 08:24 AM

Who is paying for the govenor’s mansions in springfield and Chicago ? Previuos govenors were happy with one. It a sad day when we elect officials who just fleece the people that elect them. Vote for another lawyer and let them make more laws to use againest us. Elected politicians should not be members of the BAR association.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/26 at 08:55 AM


There is no governor’s mansion in Chicago.  He has a private home in Ravenswood Manor.  All previous governor’s have also had private homes.  Don’t blame his membership to the Illinois State Bar for his shady politics.  That being said, I hope they indict him.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/26 at 01:51 PM

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