In Minnesota there are some undeniable facts related to Canteens/Clubs at VFW Posts. All of the clubs in Minnesota that I can find information on have the club as a legal entity of the post, defined by the fact that the club is advertized or commercialized using the Post' name and/or number. If there is a separate corporation set up for the club, then it would seem that it does not qualify as an exempt organization under the congressional mandate for service oriented organizations. Corruption seems to start with a department or national VFW denial of anything to do with clubs/canteens. These Posts/canteens/clubs use the good name of the VFW in their name. I worked for over 41 years for a major multinational corporation and I can assure you that if a subsidiary anywhere in the world misused the corporations logo, and/or if any disrepute came as the result of the subsidiary and any illegal, unethical thing occurred where the name/logo of the corporation was tarnished that they would come down harshly on that subsidiary. That is one reason that they usually have people from the home base in charge of the subsidiary (a good reason to have legitimate, impartial national/state oversight of these Posts). In the case of the VFW it appears that the Posts are left to their own and little if any effort is made publically to correct things that tarnish the good name of the VFW.
So, in Minnesota, a Post cannot operate a canteen/club room (sell liquor, etc.) without a permit from the department, it would be assumed. (He who giveth can (should) taketh away (if they don’t abide by the rules)). The Minnesota Department Web Page has a listing of those posts that have permits. That permit reads "“VFW Post ___ is authorized to use the name of the VFW of the US in operations of a club and lounge; the facilities of which will be restricted to the use of members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and their guests”. It seems clear that what this means is that NO ONE BUT A MEMBER OR GUEST CAN USE THIS FACILITY....PERIOD!!!!!! So, then why does the Department allow a permitted club/canteen to spend five and up to ten times as much for an intoxicating liquor license from their City when a Club license would suffice??? It seems ludicrous (and quite illegal and/or corrupt) that the Department would find that a Post that did this would not be considered in violation of the Department's by-laws. Call them what you want but to ignore the operation of a club/canteen by the State and National VFW should, by the IRS and possibly other law making agencies of Federal and State government agencies, be considered grounds to withdraw the Charter as a service organization as established by Congress and th ey should first lose their tax exemption and second, have their VFW Charter taken away.
Minnesota Statutes have provisions for Clubs (and particularly congressionally mandated service organizations like the VFW) to have a much reduced license for on sale of intoxicating liquor. However, there is a stipulation. This stipulation parallels the Department Permit, limiting sales of intoxicating liquor only to members and bonafide guests. So, is it not placating corruption to ignore, or even encourage Posts to obtain regular intoxicating liquor licenses when both the Permit is so clear and parallels the Statute? Of about 160 VFW Posts in Minnesota, only about 20 waste precious tax exempt income intended for charity to do what I call “avoid the law” by purchasing these, what I call, “we are open to the public” intoxicating liquor on sale licenses in order to avoid being pinched by the law for violating the Statute. What I have said here is fact and verifiable and no one has said otherwise, period. When the Post in question applied for a renewal of their license in March for another year I pushed the Department to direct the Post to force them to revert back to a club license and nothing was done. I tried to use the City Council and Major to bring to light the issues surrounding the license. I even communicated with the State Attorney General’s Office on the matter. It is legal for the City to issue the regular license. That I agree with. However, it contradicts the Department Permit and they are allowed to do that. That creates discrimination for Veterans, who are members, meeting the strict membership rules when they are required to sign-in when entering the club and anyone else can just enter. When a member is in the club they have no idea of who is or is not a member, taking away all of the meaning of being a member of the “club” as part of the membership. It opens the door to other types of discrimination. For instance, if the club chooses not to want someone in their club, for whatever reason be it racial, sex or other reason, they can just chase them out without giving a reason, it appears. Even though the intent may not be discriminatory, having this disparity, in what is believed by most to be a private club, opens the door to all kinds of law suits and lawyers love this kind of thing.
The membership needs to engage in these issues. The National and State HQ’s must involve themselves in assuring that the good name of the VFW does not get tarnished by these local matters, that smell like corruption. Too many Auxiliary members work too hard, nationwide, to build the reputation of the VFW, supporting their spouses, parents, etc. than to let the leadership ignore these local issues. Remember, the VFW is built on its roots in the community. When the community ignores the rules, laws, etc., of what made this organization strong to begin with, then it is a real shame.
Here is an interesting fact. Usually the Governor of Minnesota heads north to the resort areas for the fishing opener. Next year he will do that locally at White Bear Lake. The VFW has a beautiful Post right on the shores of White Bear Lake. It appears that they run a good operation. However…… They too have a Permit that reads as stated above. However, they choose to pay TEN TIMES as much for what I call an “open to the public” intoxicating liquor license than necessary if they abided by the Permit language. So, I guess that if the Governor goes into that club next year he can legally be there but he will be in violation of the Department Permit and I do not believe that the Governor is qualified to be a member of the VFW. Maybe someone will take him in as a guest. I h ope so. Oh, by the way, the local American Legion Post in White Bear Lake, who take in as much income as does the VFW, have a “club” ($500 versus $5,000) license. By having this club license, even if non-members get in, causes the club operators to be more observant of who is in there, who is a member and who is a guest. When they take the easy way out and just get a regular license they soon lose perspective of who the club is intended for. Read my comments under (Mis)Management of Canteens/Clubs for more specifics of why I am on this crusade.