Newspaper: Lawmakers' Support Boosts Chances of Securing Grants

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Nonprofit organizations applying for state grant money stand a much better chance if they have a lawmaker in their corner.

About 85 percent of the grants awarded so far from the $20 million available has gone to groups whose requests had a lawmaker's endorsement.

That's according to an analysis of state records by The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.

Of more than 4,000 applications, nearly 3,000 lacked a legislator's sponsorship.

Secretary of State Riley Darnell has discretion to award the grants, but he says he is "honor bound" to try to deal with the lawmakers' requests first.

Some who applied for the grant money think that's unfair.

They say they thought their request would be judged on its merits, and that they didn't know they needed to a state lawmaker to sponsor it.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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