Seems the Alabama BSA is the latest council to come under scrutiny by the FBI for possibly inflating membership claims:
Boy Scout volunteer Tom Willis knew something was wrong when he saw that 20 youngsters on the list for a scouting program all had the same last name: Doe. Willis said it appeared someone was listing fake members to boost enrollment, perhaps to bring in more funding from agencies like the United Way.
“It was just so blatant. They didn’t even try to make up names,” said Willis, a dentist from Decatur and a former Eagle Scout who serves on the board of the Greater Alabama Boy Scout Council, which runs scouting programs in northeastern Alabama.
For an organization that uses its strong sense of morals as a basis for discrimination against gays and atheists it seems somewhat hypocritical for them to violate some of the very values they claim to be stalwart defenders of, such as being trustworthy and obedient to the law. As is often the case in these situations, though, there is big money at stake.
The Greater Alabama Council has a strong reputation nationally. In 2002, it received an award for a program that used fishing to bring in new members. The 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.
Numbers that high are hard to brush off as simple accounting mistakes and places this within the realm of intentional fraud. It’s not an isolated incident either. An Atlanta Council came under investigation for padding the number of African American boys who were members by between 10,000 and 20,000 when the actual number may have been less than 500. Also the Circle Ten Council in Dallas, Texas ended lopping about 12,000 names from its membership roster after it came under investigation in 2001. That’s a 25% reduction from the numbers they used in their fund-raising materials.
Clearly there’s a growing problem with BSA Councils being unable to abide by the values they claim to uphold. Perhaps if they weren’t so busy trying to ensure that there are no gays or atheists in their ranks they’d have not only more time to ensure that their membership claims are accurate, but might find that their membership ranks grow as a result.