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PA Boys Scouts in trouble with IRS for honoring Candidate

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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

Edited by RememberSchiff

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The law is clear. There should have been no mention that he was a candidate for office.

That said, it is my speculation that the muzzling of leaders of non-profits contributed to the results of recent elections -- especially among evangelicals whose leaders are notoriously more nuanced than their congregations.

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The law is not upheld.  How many churches in the last 3-4 years have been using the pulpit to endorse a political discussion/candidate.  This is no different.

Now, the BSA should have encouraged a deferment to honor, after the election, to ensure that it appears unbiased.  Endorsing a person during an election (regardless of the election is not mentioned) is certainly publicizing his candidacy...they should have known better.

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This appears to be more an attempt to make more out of it than need be done.  Yes, when the change in employment or title happened they should have been more conscious of the appearance of support.  But, it was not their intent; more simply poor decision making by people that may not be cognizant of the residual appearance and the wording of the law.  Why so many in our modern society need to constantly make waves over minor issues is beyond me, other than their own desire to somehow be noticed and project power in some manner.  Another facet of the egoism that is more and more dominating our society.

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Huh

Seems like a politico took advantage of a public event to strengthen his candidacy.  While that is his right, as the BSA was in charge of the event, likely could have handled it better

Apparently Mr Mesuer ran for the 10th district nomination in 08 and lost, the 11th district at some point and is now running for the newly remapped 9th district.  The man does not seem to know the word "concede"

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On March 10, 2018 at 12:25 PM, JustAScoutMom said:

The law is not upheld.  How many churches in the last 3-4 years have been using the pulpit to endorse a political discussion/candidate.  This is no different.....

Actually very few endorse a candidate  -- relative to lively debates that I may have heard in the 70s and 80s. Since then, the fear of losing non-profit status is palpable.

Issues are slightly different, but even so I only heard one pastor in as many decades ask congregants to contact their representatives about an issue (specifically, to let them know that invading Iraq did not meet criteria of just war.)

Talk shows have filled the void left by pulpits.

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On 3/10/2018 at 7:52 AM, RememberSchiff said:

In a program the scouts distributed at the event — which features a full-page color ad for Meuser’s congressional campaign

While much of the event and statements probably fall into a grey area, the information above about the ad does not.  It is way over the line.  

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5 hours ago, The Blancmange said:

While much of the event and statements probably fall into a grey area, the information above about the ad does not.  It is way over the line.  

I don't understand how the leaders didn't understand or pay proper attention when it was getting even close to the line!

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