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Blumenthal Hits Target (Girl Scouts) on This One

Updated on December 6, 2017
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU in 1964. Worked in NYC for 2 years in public relations then as reporter and editor before retiring from The Hour newspaper.

Connecticut Attorney General

Richard Blumenthal
Richard Blumenthal | Source

Popular Girl Scout Cookies

Boxes of popular Girl Scout cookies: Samoas, Thin Mints.
Boxes of popular Girl Scout cookies: Samoas, Thin Mints.

Although I confess to being a Democrat, I'm not generally a big fan of (Connecticut) state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal who this week took aim at the Girl Scouts of America -- or, at least, at the people who manage the national organization.

Blumenthal told a press conference this week (July, 1994) that the scouts' managers are being "less than honest" about the way they report receipts from cookie sales. He added that he is prepared to take legal action if the national organization fails to change its accounting practices.

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

For a politician with the usual political ambitions, taking on the Girl Scouts is a bold step, not (something) that I often attribute to Blumenthal. But, following the "give-credit-where-credit-is-due" theory, I compliment him for having the audacity to even look into the scouts' financial doings.

He deserves credit as well for forthrightly cudgeling the scouts on the issue, knowing all-along that their partisans would not forgo a strong counterattack.

In substance the attorney general's attack maintains that scout managers are using "sleight of hand" and "stretching the truth" by directing councils nationwide in a way that artificially makes it appear that more money is being spent on programs to benefit the girls than actually is.

Blumenthal blames the national leadership for setting "a bad example" and sending "the wrong message."

Donors, he notes, rely on the Girl Scout reports, and will be misled by descriptions of the sale of cookies as "anything other than a fund-raising event."

A 'Learning Experience'

Not unlike the French police chief played by Claude Rains in Casablanca, a Girl Scouts national spokesman was "shocked" by Blumenthal's comments. The spokesman said the organization is acting on advice from its accountants, adding that the Girl Scouts view the sale of cookies as a "learning experience" as well as a fund-raiser.

It's unclear to me why Blumenthal decided to look into the Girl Scout situation, but I recall that not long ago a Girl Scout leader somewhere in Connecticut caused a stir when she lambasted the Scouts for spending too much money on administration -- a charge that, as I recall, got her in trouble with the Scout organization.

I suppose it's only human, but leaders of organizations almost always resent people (whistleblowers) who point out serious problems that cry out for correction.

The Girl Scouts are not alone among nonprofit and eleemosynary organizations who have come under criticism in recent times.

Held to a Higher Standard

It seems to me that civic organizations and charities, which thrive on the goodheartedness of the people from whom they hope to gain financial (and volunteer) support, should be held to a higher standard than business organizations that merely provide a service.

There have been too many incidents in recent years of con men running phony charities and professional fund-raising groups taking an unconscionable percentage of dollars collected. Reputable civic organizations and charities would do well to be sure their finances and operational practices are beyond reproach.

For my money, which on a good day would fill a thimble, the Salvation Army beats them all when it comes to honesty, integrity and good works!

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on July 30, 1994.

Girl Scout Cookie Song Lady Gaga Poker Face Version


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    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks, Ralph. It's a lot better to have illustrations and videos with the columns. I owe it all to other hubbers and the forum -- and HubPages. Bob, how about just one box of mints to go along with the Dick Cheney Impeachmints my daughter gave me as a gift. Thank you, also, MrMarmalade, for your comments. It seems you can't trust anyone these days.

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 10 years ago from Sydney




    • profile image

      Bob 10 years ago

      I didn't see my first response come up so , I'll do it again. If it comes out twice , must be worth the read..

      Bill .... Please don't mess with my THIN MINT Girl Scout Cookies. Hope you had a good trip to Maine .

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Good job. You're developing a good mashup technique to go with your well-written columns.