Saturday, August 12

Aren't All Sweepstakes Deceptive?

Voters in Michigan this fall will be voting on whether to reinstate a ban on dove hunting. A pro-hunting coalition, Citizens for Wildlife Preservation, is trying to stop the ballot proposal and thereby keep dove hunting legal. Some have argued this front group of hunting organizations has intentionally selected its name to disguise which side of the debate it supports.

To meet its stated goal of raising $3.2 million, the group used a direct mail sweepstakes. However, on Friday Michigan's Attorney General Mike Cox announced a settlement which canceled the sweepstakes advertised by the group and "provides refunds to those who thought they were entering a raffle, not making a contribution," Cox said in a statement. The AP reports:

On its Web site, Citizens for Wildlife Conservation had featured a "Save Our Heritage Sweepstakes" that included a grand prize of 40 acres of Upper Peninsula woodlands or $20,000 in cash. Other donated prizes include a salmon fishing trip, shotguns and a pheasant hunt.

A sample copy of the entry ticket said "no purchase necessary" in small print and included the phrase "$5.00 contribution" in larger print. But other promotional materials asked people to "buy" tickets for $5, Cox said.
There is no information on how many donors purchased tickets unaware they were making a contribution to this front group for the dove hunters. However, initial complaints were filed against the sweepstakes on June 2nd by the Committee to Restore the Dove Shooting Ban with backing from The Humane Society of the United States and other groups.

UPDATE: This story ran on Friday, Aug. 18th in The Flint Journal.

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