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Flyingfish

Political Activity by Council

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I was shocked to get a flyer in my email from my Council about an upcoming sales tax referendum. When asked, the Council responded that the school system had requested Council to send it out. The flyer was produced at taxpayer expense and had clear advocacy messaging in it, which is in it self illegal for the school district to do under state law. I wonder if there has been some sort of quid pro quo deal with the school system to send this out. "you guys are our partners, righhhttt? Partners help each other. Will you help us so you can keep recruiting at our schools?"

 

Is this something we really need to be doing?

 

I appreciate you comments.

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You have three options: Join in on the activity, become a 'whistle-blower', or quietly back away from it and watch to see what happens. The last one is the 'do nothing' option and I suspect most would take that one.

Me, I'd be reluctant to take the first option unless I was convinced that I was right and it was legal. If I was convinced it was NOT legal I might have a discreet conversation with the council to make sure they were on the same legal page and if they persisted, knowing what they were doing was illegal, I might blow the whistle. But if I just didn't have time to devote to this, I'd probably take the third option. Just like so many others.

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The OP is concerned about this enough to make them think about it. Do nothing isn't an option at this point. I don't think you can see a wrong and just say not my problem you should at least call the council and express your concern.

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Strict observance of our long-standing policy against active participation of uniformed Scouts and leaders in political events is mandatory.

Please notify your chartered oranizations and unit leaders of this policy. Questions on the interpretation of this policy may be referred to David K. Park, national legal counsel, david.park@scouting.org, 972-580-2005 or David Burke, crisis/reputation management specialist,david.burke@scouting.org, 972-580-2280.

 

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When the Council sent out the e-mail, did they endorse the sales tax referendum or did they just deliver without comment. If they endorsed it, that's problematic and could potentially cause legal and tax problems. If they endorsed it, send a copy of the e-mail to one or both of the folks in Tahawks posting and let them sort it out. If they just forwarded the information without comment, that might be allowable if they were open to doing the same for opponents of the sales tax referendum. If a member of an organized opponent group were to get this e-mail and ask Council to distribute their information as well and Council refused, that might (and I emphasize "might") be considered a tacit endorsement by some which is why I suggest it might be allowable depending on the circumstances.

 

There is a difference between actively endorsing someone or something, and just providing information. It's why churches can hand out voters guides at church but can't stand at the pulpit encouraging folks to vote in a specific way (of course, the voter's guides could be slanted, but as long as they don't blatantly tell folks to vote for these candidates and not for these, that's legal as well - and I don't mean to single out churches either, other organizations, like the NRA and the Sierra Club put out voter's guides too).

 

If you're concerned about where this falls, contact the Council's legal eagle, or you can contact one of the folks in Tahawks post - it at least lets them know that folks are paying attention..

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If the partnering agreement between your council and the school district requires each other to forward official correspondence, and this flyer fits the bill, then good on the district for holding the council to their end. I'd be happy to forward school district information if only the school district would consistently distribute scouting information.

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If the partnering agreement between your council and the school district requires each other to forward official correspondence' date=' and this flyer fits the bill, then good on the district for holding the council to their end.[/quote']

 

Isn't the charter agreement a standard nationwide form? That's what I thought, but it's been awhile since I have seen one and I guess I assumed it was a form that the CO had to take or leave.

 

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Isn't the charter agreement a standard nationwide form? That's what I thought, but it's been awhile since I have seen one and I guess I assumed it was a form that the CO had to take or leave.

 

 

I think Fehler is talking about a Council-School District agreement.

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Yes, there is an agreement between our Council (Northern Star) and our School District (Minneapolis Public Schools, and some of the other larger school districts) in regards to sending recruiting flyers home with students. I'm guessing that agreement could go both ways.

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