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  1. WILKES-BARRE — When the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council awarded a 2018 Distinguished Citizen award to former state revenue Secretary Dan Meuser, it was clear — from the event program as well as his acceptance speech — that the Republican is running to represent the 9th Congressional District. Another Republican candidate for the seat, Andrew Shecktor, a councilman from Berwick, on Friday described the scouts’ “potential endorsement” in presenting the award as “clearly a violation of IRS regulation.” Scout Executive Mark Barbernitz countered that the program was in line with scout values — recognizing the person while avoiding the politics. “We didn’t endorse him,” Barbernitz said. “We recognized him for his service to the community, what he’s done in the past.” Federal law prohibits nonprofit organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, from participating in political campaigns. In a program the scouts distributed at the event — which features a full-page color ad for Meuser’s congressional campaign — Meuser’s profile uses the phrase “Candidate for Congress” to identify his occupation. An introductory letter by dinner co-chairmen Peter J. Danchak and Marianne Gilmartin, as well as Scout Executive Mark Barbernitz, also extols Meuser and his brother Scott, CEO of the Meuser family company Pride Mobility, “Dan Meuser is committed to serving the community and fighting for their best interest,” the letter said. In brief remarks at the dinner, Meuser, 54, of Kingston Twp., concentrated on his history in the Boy Scouts and in community affairs, but did allude to his candidacy for Congress. Both Meusers were honored at the dinner, but they took the stage separately after each was introduced by a video featuring testimonials from relatives and friends. Dan Meuser’s video included remarks from Patrick J. Solano, an influential local Republican who held jobs in the administrations of every governor from Bill Scranton to Ed Rendell and capped his career as a senior adviser to GOP governors Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker. ... Barbernitz, the scout executive, said that the scouts selected Meuser for the award sometime around November, and that he was initially listed as affiliated with Pride Mobility, along with his brother. The switch to congressional candidate came after the scouts learned he was no longer at that company, he said. “It’s not an endorsement. It’s just, ‘What title should we put for him?’” Barbernitz said. “We don’t get into politics because whatever you do, 50 percent of the people are going to be upset with you. We teach citizenship, and we teach the kids to participate in the political system. We encourage that and we encourage patriotism, but we don’t get into endorsing candidates or picking sides.” http://citizensvoice.com/news/boy-scouts-take-heat-for-honoring-candidate-1.2311974 FAQ about the Ban on Campaign Interventions by 501(c)(3) https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/501c3_polcampfaqs.pdf
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