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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Cubs, Webelos, Eagles, Felons

It's nice to see the Boy Scouts are indeed paying for the effects of their institutional homophobia. If they can't be bothered to do what's right out of an adherence to ethics, maybe the financial hit they're taking will encourage them to see the light. That is, unless they are allowed to cook the books. Is there a badge for defrauding taxpayers?

FBI Probes Boy Scouts Over 'Phantom' Members In Gay Ban Wake


New York -- The FBI is investigating the Boy Scouts of America amid allegations the organization is inflating its membership to gain funding.

Membership in the BSA has declined since a 2000 Supreme Court ruling that held that the Boys Scouts and its affiliates can prohibit gays. The high court said the constitution gave scouts the right to choose its members. The Scouts also prohibits atheists.

A number of cities banned the scouts from using public facilities, and charitable groups such as some United Way chapters cut off the scouts.

But, in cities where agencies like the United Way continues to fund the BSA it is alleged that troops are being encouraged to list fake names as members to boost enrolment making the group eligible for more money.

Federal agents are probing local councils in at least three states -- Alabama, Georgia, and Texas.

"The BSA national leadership continues not to follow their own oath of honesty," Scott Cozza. of Scouting For All told 365Gay.com.

"This isn't the way to deal with dwindling numbers -- being inclusive is."

In Birmingham, Alabama, boy Scout volunteer Tom Willis said he knew something was wrong when he saw that 20 youngsters on the list for a scouting program all had the same last name: Doe.

The Greater Alabama Council claimed 10,000 new Scouts that year, and tax forms show it had revenue of $6.5 million, including $100,709 in government grants. In a United Way funding application, the group said it served almost 120,000 youths and adults in 2003.

"I would say the numbers are probably inflated 30 to 40 percent in our council," Willis said.

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed the Boy Scouts' grant applications, audits and tax forms from 1999 through last year from the United Way of Central Alabama.

Nationally, the Boy Scouts claim 1.2 million adult leaders and 3.2 million youth members in six programs, including the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts.

Suspicions have led to investigations elsewhere. In Texas, a Scout group removed thousands of names from its membership rolls and a federal grand jury two years ago looked into the matter. No charges were filed.

In Atlanta, independent auditors are investigating claims the metropolitan area's Boy Scouts inflated black membership numbers to 20,000 to gain more donations. A civil rights leader contends there are no more than 500 blacks actively involved. -- Doug Windsor

Read the entire article here --> http://www.365gay.com/newscon05/01/012505scouts.htm

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