MADISON, WI (AP) -

At least one member of the politically connected sportsmen's group awarded a $500,000 state grant knew it did not have federal tax-exempt status last week when its president assured a committee recommending approval of the grant that it did.

United Sportsmen of Wisconsin issued a statement on Wednesday saying that its president Andy Pantzlaff had not consulted with the group's attorney and "was mistaken about the exemption process."

The Wisconsin State Journal reported the comments on Thursday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported on Tuesday that the group did not have tax-exempt status, based on records released by the state Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR released an Aug. 22 letter from the IRS denying the group's request for expedited consideration of tax-exempt status.