Miss America Pageant Plays Accounting Games

Being a South Jersey native and growing up in Atlantic City, the Miss America Pageant was always an exciting thing.  I even got to be in the Miss America Parade in high school with the marching band.  But it wasn’t until seeing this John Oliver piece that I really gave it much thought.  Apparently the organization claims to provide scholarships of $4 million to women.  John’s team dug up all of the organizations tax returns, which are required to be open to public inspection because it is a non profit organization, and discovered that the actual dollar figure of scholarships given out was more along the lines of $500,000.  How can this difference be?  It turns out that Miss America comes to the $4 million figure by adding up all possible scholarships that they give, as well as all other scholarships that other organizations will give to their participants.  That is some creative accounting if I’ve ever seen any.  Watch the video- skip ahead to minute 9 to see the discussion on the tax returns.

 

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