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ACLU sues Boy Scouts over funding
Daily Bulletin, Ontario Calif. ^ | 1/30/03 | Jannise Johnson

Posted on 01/30/2003 2:07:37 PM PST by RonF

Complaint alleges federal grant was accepted fraudulently.

RIVERSIDE — A recently unsealed federal complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union accuses a local Boy Scout Council of fraudulently accepting federal funds because it signed an agreement stating it would comply with federal and state anti-discrimination laws in order to get a grant.

Glenn Goodwin, a Claremont resident and ACLU member, filed the suit in a Riverside Federal Court in July of last year.

The suit seeks damages in accordance with the Federal False Claims Act on the grounds that Boy Scouts of America knowingly signed an agreement stating it would not discriminate in order to get a $15,000 grant through the County of San Bernardino.

In 2000, the Boy Scouts of America got a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court where justices agreed that it is a private organization that can choose its members any way it likes.

Boy Scouts do not allow those who won't swear an oath to God or "avowed homosexuals" into their ranks, said ACLU attorney Martha Matthews.

The federal complaint was made public this week after the U.S. Attorney's Office refused to pursue it, she said. Often with smaller claims, the U.S. attorney won't pursue them because of limited resources.

The $15,000 grant allowed the "Scoutreach" program to do more outreach to disadvantaged children in Montclair, south Montclair and south Chino.

Goodwin, an ACLU board member for more than 15 years, said he became aware from steering committee members of the ACLU's Pomona Valley Chapter that the Boy Scouts were getting federal grant money.

Members in that chapter had been discussing this situation on and off since January 2002, Goodwin said.

Goodwin, also a retired professor from Pitzer College in Claremont, decided that something needed to be done.

"When I found out the Boy Scouts were doing this, I approached the ACLU and we decided to bring a suit to stop this," he said.

The suit was filed in the Central District Court of California in Riverside, Matthews said.

The Old Baldy Council of the Boy Scouts of America Inc. is charged with fraudulently obtaining federal funds through a Community Development Block Grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development when it signed a certification of compliance stating it would adhere to laws prohibiting discrimination.

The Old Baldy Council received the grant in August of 2001, according to information from the ACLU. The $15,000 grant was to be used for the recruitment of boys to form a new chapter.

"The overall point of the case is the Boy Scouts can't have it both ways," she said. "They have gone all the way to the Supreme Court to say they are a private organization and they can" withhold membership from gays and those who refuse to swear an oath to God. "The Boy Scouts have been completely open about those things."

Matthews pointed out that the ACLU is not questioning the organization's right to restrict their membership, only their right to access federal funds.

Once the Boy Scouts are served with the complaint, they will have 30 days to answer it in federal court, Matthews said.

Ronnie Daniel, executive director for the Old Baldy Council, said his particular branch of the organization has not been served with the suit yet.

He did say the Old Baldy Council adheres to the Boy Scouts national membership standards. In addition, Daniel said they've gotten public money over the last two years through the cities of Montclair, Pomona and Claremont to start Scouting programs in areas where youngsters don't normally have access to such activities.

An administrator from San Bernardino County said the federal anti-discrimination clause states no one can be discriminated against on the grounds of race, sex, creed, religion, color or national origin. It does not mention sexual orientation. However nonprofits receiving these types of grants also have to comply with the California Fair Housing and Employment Act, said Dave Larsen, section chief of program and compliance for the county's Department of Economic and Community Development.

Larsen said his department has been working with the Scouts since 1993 and hasn't had any complaints of discrimination against them, Larsen said. When the county entered into the agreement with the Old Baldy Council in July 2001, officials made sure the contract Scouting officials were required to sign was written to ensure nondiscrimination, he said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: boyscouts; bsa; bsalist; scouts
A .pdf of the actual complaint filed in court is found here.
1 posted on 01/30/2003 2:07:37 PM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
Think about much time, energy and pdf documents could be saved if the federal government would just quit giving money to ANYBODY, Boy Scouts or otherwise.

It's not the government's money to give (or to have taken) in the first place.


2 posted on 01/30/2003 2:12:17 PM PST by wizzler
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To: RonF
Those guys gays will do anything to spend a night in the woods with these young boys won't they?
3 posted on 01/30/2003 2:13:03 PM PST by Democrap
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To: RonF
That's my old council...ACLU get your hands off!!!!
4 posted on 01/30/2003 2:14:53 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: Democrap
I suggest an counter-suit for harassment, tell the buggers,where to GO :)
5 posted on 01/30/2003 2:18:52 PM PST by skinkinthegrass (Just be because your paranoid,doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. :)
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To: skinkinthegrass
I'm not an attorney so I don?t know if it can be done but it sounds good to me. In my opinion the ACLU has been running amuck without any consequences for their action for years now.
6 posted on 01/30/2003 2:25:46 PM PST by Democrap
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To: RonF
The $15,000 grant allowed the "Scoutreach" program to do more outreach to disadvantaged children in Montclair, south Montclair and south Chino.

And of course helping poor kids is EVIL. If the scouts were instead teaching them FISTING, now that would be ok.

7 posted on 01/30/2003 2:27:48 PM PST by montag813
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To: *bsa_list
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
8 posted on 01/30/2003 2:28:11 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To: wizzler
It's not the government's money to give (or to have taken) in the first place.

Please tell that to Mr Bush. This so-called conservative has seen a way to spend YOUR money faster than back to the days of LBJ. Did you see one program that was mentioned in his SOTU speech to CUT spending? But YOUR money WILL be used to spend on AIDS in Africa. BTW many in the know say that this money WILL increase the spread of this disease.

9 posted on 01/30/2003 2:32:31 PM PST by Digger
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To: RonF
What about the Girl Skouts?

How can they accept federal funds & sign an agreement stating they will comply with federal and state anti-discrimination laws.....AND THEN DISCRIMINATE BY NOT ALLOWING BOYS INTO THE PROGRAM?????

hehehehehehe...........
10 posted on 01/30/2003 2:34:13 PM PST by TRY ONE (")
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To: Digger
Believe me, I'd love to tell Mr. Bush. I try to tell as many politicians as I can, by voting for libertarians and other candidates who aren't actually lying when they use the phrase "small government."

Unfortunately, too many of my neighbors like picking my pocket while they have their own pockets picked.
11 posted on 01/30/2003 2:35:46 PM PST by wizzler
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To: TRY ONE
Actually, the Girl Scouts discriminate more than the BSA does. The GSUSA has no program at all for boys (in fact, their international umbrella organization, WAGGGS, forbids the creation of such programs by their members), and forbids men from being the "principal leader" in their units. Whereas the BSA has a traditional program for young women from the ages of 14 to 21 (Venturing), a non-traditional program for people of all sexual preferences from the ages of 6 though 18 (Learning for Life), and allows women to occupy any leadership position they have. Since it seems that there are far more women than homosexuals and atheists, I'd say that the BSA excludes fewer people than the GSUSA does.
12 posted on 01/30/2003 2:48:31 PM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
Oh, man... Thanks for the reminder!

Note to self: Send big, fat, check to the Boy Scouts of America.

13 posted on 01/30/2003 2:51:15 PM PST by 69ConvertibleFirebird
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To: 69ConvertibleFirebird
Look in the yellow pages or go to the Council Locator page on www.scouting.org. Your local Council is listed there. To give online, go to www.give2bsa.org.
14 posted on 01/30/2003 2:52:49 PM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
You mean there aren't any bored Freeper lawyers or law students who would have fun with this class action suit against the Girl Scouts?????
15 posted on 01/30/2003 4:01:08 PM PST by mlmr
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To: RonF
If the ACLU wants to sue the BSA for accepting federal funds while excluding those who openly adhere to the homosexual creed, then there are innumerable leftist organizations that can be sued on the same basis -- they accept federal funding while excluding from their ranks those who openly adhere to the conservative creed. Why don't we start with PBS? Then we can move on to Harvard and all the other ivy league and public universities.
16 posted on 01/30/2003 4:15:40 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: RonF
Be cautious about local councils. Some of them, especially in liberal areas like San Francisco, depart from BSA national policy. I send my contributions directly to the national organization and let them decide how to allocate it.
17 posted on 01/30/2003 4:18:02 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: skinkinthegrass
I suggest an counter-suit for harassment, tell the buggers,where to GO :)

The Federal Civil False Claims Act, under which the ACLU is suing, specifically allows the defendant (Boy Scouts) to recover certain damages if the suit was "clearly frivolous, clearly vexatious, or brought primarily for purposes of harassment."

I read the brief (thanks to RonF for kindly posting the link). It looks like the Boy Scouts are out of luck on this one. In return for receiving funds under a federal block grant, the Boy Scouts signed an agreement promising not to discriminate under federal (religion) or state (religion and sexual orientation) laws. The Boy Scouts has a religious requirement and disallows homosexual members and adult leaders. As much as the Boy Scouts would like to win this one, they should cut their losses, return the $15,000 and thereby minimize the additional damages they will have to pay to the ACLU under the Federal Civil False Claims Act, which awards a percentage of the award and attorney fees to persons successfully suing to recover on behalf of the government.

Congress should look into the authority that it gives local governments in administering federal block grants. With Republicans in control of Congress, it may be possible to modify the law so that recipients are allowed to discriminate on the basis of religion and sexual orientation.
18 posted on 01/30/2003 4:58:51 PM PST by MikeJ75
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To: RonF

Fight ACLU Fascism. Support Scouting.



19 posted on 01/30/2003 6:35:22 PM PST by OneLoyalAmerican ( Iraq has not accounted for 20,000,000 envelopes worth of weaponized anthrax.)
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To: OneLoyalAmerican
The ACLU is the most dangerous terrorist group in America.
20 posted on 01/30/2003 8:33:05 PM PST by Kuksool (Fight the Axis of Evil: ACLU, NEA, NARAL)
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To: Bonaparte
If the ACLU wants to sue the BSA for accepting federal funds while excluding those who openly adhere to the homosexual creed, then there are innumerable leftist organizations that can be sued on the same basis -- they accept federal funding while excluding from their ranks those who openly adhere to the conservative creed. Why don't we start with PBS? Then we can move on to Harvard and all the other ivy league and public universities.

Deal me in. I'd happily join such a class-action lawsuit.

21 posted on 01/30/2003 8:57:06 PM PST by Marie (Tricare screws military children.)
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To: Bonaparte
Excellent reply!

Right on!

:)
22 posted on 01/30/2003 10:12:44 PM PST by Kay Soze
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To: RonF; bang_list
The ACLU should start a movement to protect the second amendment.
23 posted on 01/30/2003 10:17:44 PM PST by Concentrate
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To: MikeJ75
While I agree, it will be a cold day in hell when you see this happen. That cold day in hell is coming soon, however.
24 posted on 01/30/2003 10:34:11 PM PST by Concentrate
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To: Bonaparte
The only local Council I give to is my own, and I know where the money's going because I know everybody at Council. Your local Council likely reflects a somewhat more conservative reflection of your area's political/social attitudes.

If you still wish to be cautious, you can give a directed donation. My favorite would be to benefit the summer camp. Our summer camp built a new 40 foot climbing and rappeling tower with a $5000 directed donation. And if you don't want fame, pick someone you admire and have their name put on the plaque on it. They almost always can use new tents. Since the chief attribute that makes or breaks a summer camp is the staff, the majority of which are 15- to 18-year old kids living out of tents or crude cabins for all summer working with your sons rather than doing the movie/mall/video game bit that most kids seem to, perhaps you could donate some money to improve their lot, either their salaries or their living conditions.

National can use money, too, but understand that none of it will go down to a local Council. I would definitely give them a directed donation; say for one of the High Adventure bases like Philmont or Northern Tier. This will ensure that your money will be something that directly helps a young man or woman.
25 posted on 01/31/2003 7:47:08 AM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
Great advice and info, Ron. Thanks!
26 posted on 01/31/2003 1:54:25 PM PST by Bonaparte
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To: wizzler; RonF
Think about much time, energy and pdf documents could be saved if the federal government would just quit giving money to ANYBODY, Boy Scouts or otherwise.

Boy Scouts, to stay its own (good) path, needs to resist the temptation to swill in the government's till. You take government money, and the government will insist on taking your freedom.

27 posted on 02/04/2003 9:29:38 AM PST by yendu bwam
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To: yendu bwam
I agree, actually. "He who pays the piper calls the tune." While on the one hand I think that the BSA should have access to any government resources that any other educational Not-For-Profit, I don't favor the government giving faith-based organizations money, as I don't want the government to then start to interfere with their missions.
28 posted on 02/04/2003 11:58:46 AM PST by RonF
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To: yendu bwam
I agree, actually. "He who pays the piper calls the tune." While on the one hand I think that the BSA should have access to any government resources that any other educational Not-For-Profit, I don't favor the government giving faith-based organizations money, as I don't want the government to then start to interfere with their missions.
29 posted on 02/04/2003 11:59:01 AM PST by RonF
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To: RonF
While on the one hand I think that the BSA should have access to any government resources that any other educational Not-For-Profit, I don't favor the government giving faith-based organizations money, as I don't want the government to then start to interfere with their missions.

Agreed also, RonF. There's a big difference between being allowed (rightfully) to use national park land for a camporee, and accepting government grants of cash. Our country as a whole has been greatly federalized through the receipt of federal government cash and all the strings which are tied to it.

30 posted on 02/05/2003 9:32:26 AM PST by yendu bwam
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To: Bonaparte
they accept federal funding while excluding from their ranks those who openly adhere to the conservative creed.

Hell, let's start with the Black Congressional Caucus which even excludes black conservatives!

31 posted on 02/05/2003 9:38:49 AM PST by Bernard Marx
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To: Bernard Marx
They're more like the Black Communist Caucus.
32 posted on 02/05/2003 11:40:05 AM PST by Bonaparte
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