scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: Scouting and Politics
Michael Bowman (mfbowman@USSCOUTS.ORG
Fri Nov 26 1999 - 23:02:36 CST
This letter from the "Office of the Chief Counsel" does not sound to me like
it is from Boy Scouts of America. BSA's top lawyer, David K. Park, signs
his correspondance as
National Legal Counsel. This to me is a clear indication that the letter is
from another organization and most likely one with a separate agenda.
It is not uncommon for public interest groups to latch on to causes that
they believe run parallel to their own and to raise money to support views
that they believe will support their own. And when there is litigation on
significant issues, other organizatins are often willing to join in the
litigation by filing a "Friend of the Court" brief supporting one of the
litigants. It may be that this group, as yet unknown, is trying to raise
funds to support the legal costs of preparing such a brief in support of BSA
It is also possible that the group is trying to traffic on the good name of
Scouting to raise money for its own purposes and that the money raised will
never be used to help Scouting in any way.
There are several things that you can do:
1. Consult with your Scout Executive to determine whether the letter was
sent with BSA's approval or concurrence.
2. As the fundraising entity for information about where they are
incorporated or organized, a copy of their charter/by-laws, and a statement
as to how funds are to be used and what percentage of funds are retained for
3. Advise your local Postal Inspector and ask whether the Postal Service
has any experience with this group. If they are up to no good, it may be
that the Postal Service knows about them and may even be collecting evidence
of mail fraud.
4. Contact your State Attorney General's Office. In many jurisdictions
there are rules about fundraising, including rules requiring the fundraiser
to be registered and to publish a statement as to how the funds are to be
dispersed once raised. The State Attorney General can help you find out
whether the fundraiser is legit in such cases and if not, may have an
interest in looking things over.
I would advise anyone getting such a solicitation to be cautious and check
it out. Further, if the argument for donating money is so persuasive that
you feel like you ought to donate, consider a direct donation to BSA
instead. Chances are more of the money will get used to help BSA this way.
Otherwise it is likely that a significant percentage of the funds will be
used for the fundraiser's administrative expenses and that only a small
amount will actually be used for the stated purpose of the fundraiser.
After all why go through a middle-man to donate support?
Mike Bowman, Vice President
U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.