While the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have expressed concerns about a graphic element that was used on a recent political mailer in Athens County, the designer of the logo said Friday that the organization has no reason to be upset.
Dale Musgrave, scout executive for the Allohak Council for the BSA, said several Boy Scout parents in Athens notified his Parkersburg office in the last two weeks that a mailer for Susan Gwinn used a logo that resembled a Boy Scout logo. One volunteer leader also dropped off a copy of the mailer at his office, he said.
Gwinn is running for Athens County prosecutor in the Democratic primary against incumbent C. David Warren.
The image is not an exact replica of a Scout logo, but it does use the same words, images and phrases that the Scouts use, Musgrave said.
As a leader for the Allohak Council, which covers Athens and Washington counties in Ohio and 15 counties in West Virginia, Musgrave said he forwarded the mailer to the legal department at the national office of the BSA. The organization does not endorse candidates and is careful in how its logos are used, he said.
"We completely stay out of politics," Musgrave said. "We are precluded from engaging in any political activity." The BSA did not give its permission for the logo to be used in the mailer, he added.
"She did modify the image slightly," Musgrave said. "That image, however, is a very close representation of our protected logo."
The BSA legal office responded to Musgrave's questions and sent a letter to the Gwinn campaign, he said.
"Basically, she was asked not to use the name or the images of the Boy Scouts of America in connection with her political campaign activities," Musgrave said. "That is certainly not anything that is endorsed by the Boy Scouts of America."
Asked if the BSA would take any further action against the campaign, Musgrave said it would depend on whether the logo is used again.
"Are we currently suing her? No. We've asked her not to use trademarked materials," Musgrave said.
For whatever reason, in the Gwinn campaign's most recent mailings, the logo does not appear.
GWINN SAID FRIDAY that the logo is not the BSA logo but was created by a graphics company in Columbus for her campaign. She referred questions about the design of the logo to the company.
Ian James, a former Athens resident who is part of The Strategy Network in Columbus, said Friday said the argument made by the BSA about the logo is "laughable." He designed the logo, so the BSA can't own it, he added.
"They can be upset about it, but that's not their logo," James said. He said the logo is different from the BSA logo and was designed for this political message.
"It is a metaphor; it is a visual metaphor," James said.
He also questioned the news value of the logo issue, and said people should be more concerned over the points raised by Gwinn in the mailer about Warren's time as county prosecutor. James also said it would not surprise him if the Warren campaign had raised the issue with the BSA.
Warren said Friday that he did not notify the BSA about the logo and had nothing to do with the issue. He added that he only heard about the BSA concerns earlier in the week.