Senators Demand Accounting from Boys & Girls Clubs

A group of senators has asked executives overseeing the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to account for the high salaries, perks, executive retirement plans and lobbying expenses at the nonprofit group.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; Tom Coburn, R-Okla; Jon Kyl , R.-Ariz.; and John Cornyn, R-Texas, wrote to the chairman of the club’s board of governors, citing an IRS filing from the tax-exempt organization. The filing indicated that executives at the Atlanta-based headquarters received more than $900,000 in compensation in 2008, even while local boys and girls clubs nationwide had to close their doors due to budget shortfalls.

The senators accused the group of having “a top-heavy organization demonstrating questionable management of hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars and charitable donations, as well as a lack of support for local chapters and affiliates.” They also questioned pending legislation that would reauthorize and redirect the use of taxpayer dollars for the Boys & Girls Clubs.

A Senate bill, S.2924, which has been approved by the Judiciary Committee, would recast a federal grant program established in 1998 from its original purpose of providing seed money to start boys and girls clubs in needy neighborhoods to providing a steady stream of funding for the national organization.

The legislation also would remove the original congressional requirement that the national organization extend services and open clubs for young people in public housing projects and distressed areas.

Already, according to the tax information reviewed by the senators, federal funds appear to comprise almost 40 percent of the Boys & Girls Clubs’ revenues.

Grassley, Coburn, Kyl and Cornyn said they want more information from the national organization about program accomplishments, compensation, governance, revenue, expenses, investments and other activities in order to determine necessary changes to the pending bill.

“It is a matter of transparency and accountability in the use of taxpayer dollars and program integrity for the young Americans who are supposed to benefit from these resources,” they wrote.

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