Re: Benefits of Federal Charter
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Tue, 13 Sep 1994 02:42:11 CST
Alan Wolfson <awolfson@MSI.COM> writes:
> I'm in need of the collective wisdom and knowledge of this group.
>One of the new unit commisioners attending commissioner basic training
>this past weekend asked a question that nobody really knew the answer
>to. He asked what good was the BSA's Congressional Charter? That is,
>he wanted to know what benfits, either tangible or not, were derived
>from being Federally chartered.
> We suspect that there are some tax benefits, and probably some
>prestige, but other than that we drew a blank.
> Anybody know the definitive answer? Mike? Kathie?
It took me some time, folks, but here's what I think that Alan and
several others were looking for. This is all from a book called "The
History of the Boy Scouts of America", written by William D. Murray
(which I have an autographed copy of the 1937 book here...it was
literally buried in a mound o' paper! hehehe*)
Our insignia, orginally protected by design patents, which are of
limited duration, received full and complete protection through
section vii of our Charter from Congress, which gave like protection
to the characteristic terminology of the Movement.
This has made possible the control over commercial practices otherwise
likely to be exploitative of Scouting. Appeal to the Courts to
support these rights has seldom been required, but when found
necesssary to clarify opposing equities, our position has
invariablly been sustained.
Thus Congress, by granting our Federal Charter, has placed under the
Movement a solid sure protection, appropriate and comparable to the
service the Movement would render to the Nation through its boys.
FEDERAL CHARTER, BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
PERMANENT PROTECTION PROVIDED BY CONGRESS
(.... will indicated non-essential parts omitted only because of
*Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Represenatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled*, that (...names of
first corporate officers of the Boy Scouts of America...), their
associates and successors, are hereby created to a body corporate and
politic of the District of Columbia, where its domicile shall be.
Sec. 2. That the name of this corporation shall be Boy Scouts
of America, and by that name it shall have perpetual succession, with
power to sue and be sued in courts of law and equity within the
jurisdiction of the United States; to hold such real and personal
estate as shall be neccessary for corporate purposes, and to receive
real and personal property by gift, devise or bequest; to adopt a
seal, and the same to alter and destroy at pleasure; to have offices
and conduct its business and affairs within and without the District
of Columbia, and in the several States and Territories of the United
States; to make and adopt bylaws, rules and regulations not
inconsistant with the laws of the United States of America or any
State thereof, and generally do all such acts and things (including
the establishment of regulations for the election of assocates and
successors) as may be necessary to carry into effect the provision of
this act and promote the purposes of said corporation.
Sec. 3. That the purpose of this corporation shall be to
promote, through organization and cooperation with other agencies, the
ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them
in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patrotism, courage, self-reliance,
and kindred virtues, using the methods which are now in common use by
Sec. 4 That said corporation may acquire by way of gift all
the assets of the existing national organization of Boy Scouts, a
corporation under the laws of the District of Columbia, and defray and
provide for any debts or liabilities to the discharge of which said
assets shall be applicable, but said corporation shall have no power
to issue certificates of stock or to declare or pay dividends, its
object and purposes being solely of a benelvolent character and not
for pecuniary profit to its members.
Sec. 5. That the governing body of the said Boy Scouts of
America shall consist of an executive board composed of citizens of
the United States. The number, qualifications, and terms of office of
members of this executive board shall be prescribed by the bylaws.
The persons mentioned in the first section (the officers at the time
of the Charter) of this act shall consitute the first executive board
and shall serve until their succcessors are elected and have
qualified. Vacancies in the executive board shall be filled by a
majority vote of the remaining members thereof. (....)
Sec. 6. That an annual meeting of the incorporators, their
associates, and successors, shall be held once in every year after the
year of incorporation, at such time and place as shall be prescribed
in the bylaws, when the annual reports of the officers and executive
board shall be presented and members of the executive board elected
for the ensuing year. Special meetings of the corporation may be
called upon such notice as may be prescribed in the bylaws. The
number of members which shall constitute a quorum at any annual or
special meeting shall be prescribed in the bylaws. The members and
executive board shall have power to hold their meeting and keep the
seal, books, documents and papers of the corporation within or without
the District of Columbia.
Sec. 7. That said corporation shall have the sole and
exclusive right to have and use, in carrying out its purpose, all
emblems and badges, descriptive or designating marks, and words or
phrases now or heretofore used by the Boy Scouts of America, in
carrying out its program , it being distinctly and definately
understood, however, that nothing in this act shall interfere or
conflict with established or vested rights.
Sec. 8. That on or before the 1st day of April of each
year the said Boy Scouts of America shall make and transmit to
Congress a report of its proceedings for the year ending December 31
preceding, including a full, completed and itemized report of receipts
and expenditures of whatever kind.
Sec. 9. That Congress shall have the right to repeal,
alter, or amend this act at any time.
Approved June 15, 1916 "
The summary of what this did for the BSA is pretty cut-and-dried:
* protected the name, and any other "names" related to the
organization (which is the reason why someone else cannot use
"Scouting/USA" and one of the reasons why the BSA abandoned that
communicative name almost as soon as it was announced)
* protected the badges, insignia and "protective marks" of the
* allowed for the establishment of offices anywhere where the US has a
* gave specific reasons for the organization to exist
* established the 31st of December as the ending date of the "fiscal
year" and required that an annual report be rendered to Congress no
later than 1 April of the following year (which explains why your DEs
and Council staff wants to "close everything out" by the end of the
year and why all registrations must be in your Councils no later than
* gives CONGRESS (not the BSA) the right to alter or remove this
protection at any time (*should I've said this? hehehehe*)
Hope that all helps the discussion (which I've been reading from the
sidelines and find really interesting!)
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
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