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Congress’s $3.5 million ”Bake Sale” for the Boy Scouts

Boy Scouts Commemorative Coin a All right, it isn’t actually a bake sale, but it might as well be. On May 15, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5872, an act “To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the centennial of the Boy Scouts of America, and for other purposes.” The other purposes? The sale of the coins by the Secretary of the Treasury, with a surcharge on each coin sold to “be paid to the National Boy Scouts of America Foundation.” In other words, this is a congressionally mandated fundraiser for the Boy Scouts.

With the act allowing for up to 350,000 of this coin to be issued and fixing the surcharge at $10 per coin, the Boy Scouts could receive as much as $3.5 million from their sale. Never before, in the long history of U.S. government-issued commemorative coins, has this benefit been granted to an organization that promotes religion or discriminates based on religion.

What is a Commemorative Coin and How Does the Program Work?

A 1996 U.S. Mint report titled “Commemorative Coins Could Be More Profitable,” described the issuance of commemorative coins as follows: “Every commemorative coin program is authorized by an act of Congress. Congress authorizes commemorative coins primarily as a means of honoring certain events and individuals and raising funds for the coins’ sponsors. On occasion, the proceeds from commemorative coin sales are applied to the national debt. Commemorative coins are legal tender but are purchased and retained by collectors, rather than used as a circulating medium of exchange.”

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  1. Rich Crisci | May 20, 2008 | Reply

    “at $10 per coin, the Boy Scouts could receive as much as $3.5 million from their sale.”

    If the US Mint is minting & selling these tell me again how the BSA will receive any of this money?

    I dont think the Mint gives anything away today nor did they yesterday. Tomorrow dont look to good either.

  2. Mathew Goldstein | May 22, 2008 | Reply

    Rich Crisci, the words “fixing the surchage” that you dishonestly omitted from the sentence fragment you quoted answers your own stupenduously stupid question. The $10 per coin is profit, and all of that profit, by law, is being sent as a gift of Congress, and therefore of the U.S. government, to the Boy Scouts of America, instead of to the U.S. Treasury.

  3. Bilbo Baggins | May 29, 2008 | Reply

    From the sale of the coin, Tax money, my money, your money going to an institution that will not allow me, an Atheist into their ranks, nor do they allow Gay’s, I would have to say this is not a good thing.
    I was a Boy Scout, and they will not have me anymore.

    Separation of Federal dollars going towards an organization that outright discriminates and is religious based is always needed.

    They have the right to discriminate, but not the right to use my money to do so.

  4. BillB | Jul 25, 2008 | Reply

    Bilbo wrote
    “An institution that will not allow me, an Atheist into their ranks, nor do they allow Gay’s”

    True- but it’s also “don’t ask, don’t tell”
    Sure, if you’re overtly flamboyant or push your personal beliefs, you’ll be asked to leave- You just don’t push your personal views on a bunch of kids looking for some outdoor fun. You can be be overtly hetero while pushing your Catholic views to some Baptist Troop and you’ll get the hook too.

    And yes, I’m against the ‘rule’- Ban gays but not pedophiles? Whaa? Remember the Mormons have taken over the national leadership of Scouting and created these rules. We local organizations are forced to abide or are forced to disband. Do whatever you can to help us change it, don’t just complain about it.

  5. Howard Roark | Aug 16, 2008 | Reply

    This news absolutely makes me sick to my stomach.

    I’m an eighteen year-old college-bound citizen. I’m aslo an atheist… and I’m gay.

    I never was a Boy Scout (but I was a YMCA Indian Guide), but to know that the tax dollars I PAY to the government are being used to fund a supposedly non-governmental organization that explicitly discriminates against me and other responsible tax-paying Americans like me makes me want to gag.

    I’m all for the discriminating self-righteous Boy Scouts doing what they wish as long as it is PRIVATELY SUPPORTED and not funded with my tax dollars.

    Props to the author for bringing such a example of how immoral and corrupt our government can become.

  6. Allan Goodwin | Sep 20, 2008 | Reply

    It does not cost the US Gov’t. $10 to make these coins. The extra $10 is NOT coming from the tax payers money. It’s coming from the pockets of the people who buy the coins. Do you know what “SURCHARGE” means? It means paying more than what you would normally pay for an item. Thus it will probably cost $15 dollars, with $5 going to the Feds and $10 going to the Foundation. If you don’t like the Boy Scouts then don’t buy the coin, but you are not paying the extra $10 dollars for the coins. The sale will probably make money for the Feds, but it does not say that in this sorry excuse for journalism.

  7. Bachman | Nov 10, 2008 | Reply

    With (minimal) apologies to the “Gay Athiest Church of Do-your-own-thing” how ’bout you just stick it? Frankly, I’m surprised that our liberal leaning congress actually still believes that there’s something positive to be said for an organization that stands fast against what some would have us believe is the predominant (humanist) culture and instead attempts to instill some useful values in youth, particularly the young men.

    Meanwhile, I’ll promise not to complain when MY tax dollars are spent to provide publicity, police services, and street cleanup to outstanding and compelling circus side-shows such as Gay Pride parades and the like.

    You’re a moron if you think that every dollar the government spends benefits everyone equally. Wake up and join the real world.

  8. Fred Philibert | Jan 16, 2009 | Reply

    The Boy Scouts does not promote any religion, nor does it discriminate based on religion.

    In my troop, we have had scouts and leaders who are Jews, Hindu, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Eastern Orthodox, and several other Christian denominations.

    The only “Religion” requirement is a belief in something. Participation in YOUR particular belief system is strongly encouraged, but not required.

    Religious awards are sponsored by the individual religions, and may be earned by Boy Scouts. For information, please see:

  9. Jon D | Feb 3, 2010 | Reply

    I love how everyone tries to bash the Boy Scouts. Someone always has to find something wrong with it. Not all the good that it does. Like the 1,000,000+ community service hours that they provide every year. Yes they have requirements like any other organization. Yes they want you to believe in something. Through my time in scouting I think I’ve been exposed to almost every religion on the planet. And the whole gay issue, we function just like the military.(Which by the way your taxes pay their salaries) I know some scouts/scouters that are gay, but they don’t openly show it. Just like I know some military members that are gay and the same rule applies.

    Last, these coins are not being circulated. You have to specifically order these. Yes the government is spending some money to make them. But if they sell them all, which I am 99% sure they will, then they get their money back and most likely turn a profit.

  10. Hawkrod | Mar 25, 2010 | Reply

    This really is a sad and misguided article. The government is just giving the money away and getting nothing for it? How stupid are you people? You have a coin made by the government that will sell for a premium. A percentage of that goes to the organization that holds the trademark and will drive the majority of the proceeds. Do you honestly believe for a heartbeat that if it were a Star Wars or Disney commemorative coin that the government would get away with such a mediocre licensing fee and sales commission? Get real. You may not agree with the Boy Scouts but they are the ones paying the way and the government is reaping the benefit of coining money that will never see the light of day again. Pure profit as far as the government is concerned.

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