MADISON, WI (AP) -

A Department of Natural Resources committee has recommended awarding a $500,000 state grant to a politically connected sportsmen's group despite questions about whether it's qualified to do the work.

The grant is to promote hunting and fishing in Wisconsin.

The committee voted 4-1 Thursday to give it to United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation. The group has ties to allies of former Republican Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, including donors, lobbyists and Suder's former chief of staff.

The DNR's chief legal counsel, Tim Andryk, says the DNR secretary now has no choice but to give the group the grant. The sportsmen foundation was the only one that applied.

Committee member Mark LaBarbera was the lone no vote. He tells the Wisconsin State Journal the grant "didn't pass the smell test."