Los Angeles Times

Criminality and the Church of Scientology


James Kirchick’s recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times asks, “In the world of religious tax exemptions, does Scientology measure up?”

Kirchick incisively cuts right to the bone:

Today, America’s recognition of Scientology as a religion stands as an anomaly in the Western world, the result not of impartial jurisprudence but of harassment. Four years ago, France’s highest court upheld a fraud conviction against the church, ruling that, “Far from being a violation of freedom of religion, as this American organization contends, this decision lifts the veil on the illegal and highly detrimental practices.”

Kirchick is quite correct in taking the matter of Scientology directly to the matter of criminality. Since it’s inception in 1954, the Church of Scientology has at all times operated as a criminal organization. A straightforward historical reading of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology’s machinations, plans, and designs will bear this out. Fair Game. The Guardian’s Office. Conspiracy. Domestic espionage. Tax evasion. Infiltration. Theft. Spying. Blackmail. Coercion. Money laundering. OSA. Phony front groups. Private investigators. Forced interrogations. Beatings. Agents provocateurs. Hacking computers. It’s all there. Scientology is a classic criminal organization.

The FBI raid of July 8, 1977 on Scientology was massive; over 150 agents participated. The raid was the direct result of L. Ron Hubbard’s Program Snow White. A demonstration of Scientology’s criminality writ large, Program Snow White brought Mary Sue Hubbard to ruination:

Russia

June 2017: The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) conduct a raid on Scientology’s Moscow Headquarters.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has raided Scientology Orgs numerous times. From the Moscow Times of June 7, 2017:

The headquarters of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg has been raided by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) on June 6 according to the MediaZona news site. The security services accused the Church of extremism, inciting hatred, and operating an illegal business.

Hungary

Hungarian Police during the raid of Scientology’s Budapest Headquarters.

On October 22,2017 — a scant three weeks ago — The Daily Mail reported on the massive raid of Scientology made by Hungarian police:

Hungarian police carried out a search at a Church of Scientology centre in Budapest amid a probe into suspected misuse of personal information and ‘other crimes’.

More than 50 officers surrounded the church’s Budapest headquarters on one of the Hungarian capital’s busiest roads early on Wednesday.

Detectives from the National Investigation Bureau have listed the target as ‘unknown persons’ – a common designation when a specific suspect has not been identified.

In terms of comparison, 156 FBI agents participated in the raid of Scientology’s Los Angeles complex, such was the sheer volume of documents Scientology had stolen from the US government. For Hungary to send in more than 50 police officers to raid Scientology offices there indicates the seriousness and scope of the criminal investigation.

Cover Ups of Rapes and Child Sexual Abuse

The criminality of Scientology extends to the cover ups of rape and child sexual abuse. At this writing, Scientologist Danny Masterson is alleged to have committed four rapes that were covered up by the Church.

Danny Masterson and Netflix co-star Ashton Kutcher at the 2017 CMT Music Awards in June. Photo by Jason Davis/WireImage.

The Los Angeles Police Department & The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office

Scientology’s hideous reputation has tainted the Los Angeles Police Department as well as the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. People are asking why the case against Danny Masterson is not moving forward despite “overwhelming evidence” as reported by the Huffington Post. Netflix has even come in for criticism as it has not stopped production of its series The Ranch in which Masterson stars. As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

A woman who previously accused actor Danny Masterson of rape — an allegation he has denied — has gone on the record to criticize Netflix for continuing with his show “The Ranch” even as it has severed ties with Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. after allegations of sexual misconduct.

“For me, what Netflix has done feels like a continuation of how the Church of Scientology made me feel when I reported my rape to them, as well as how Danny Masterson made me feel when I would beg him for an apology, an explanation, anything,” Chrissie Carnell Bixler told the Daily Beast. “I was made to feel unimportant. I was made to feel like I didn’t matter.”

Leah Remini’s Emmy award winning A&E show Scientology and the Aftermath has given courage to many of Scientology’s victims who were in the shadows. Terrified of incurring Scientology’s vengeance for speaking out, these people are no longer afraid. Even as the mask is being ripped off the sexual abuse and culture of cover-ups in Hollywood and Washington D.C., the same is happening to Scientology. The predators are being named and called out.

Revoke Scientology’s Tax Exemption Now

The Church of Scientology is able to ply its evil trade only because its ill-gotten 1993 IRS tax exemption. According to Doug Frantz’s seminal 1997 article in the New York Times
Scientology’s Puzzling Journey From Tax Rebel to Tax Exempt it appears that then IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg unfairly rigged the examination in favor of Scientology. As Frantz noted in his article:

Scientology entities were required to submit new applications for exemption, which were to be evaluated by the agency’s exempt organizations division. But something unusual occurred there, too.

Mr. Schoenfeld, the negotiations chairman, ordered the two tax analysts assigned to the review not to consider any substantive matters, according to I.R.S. memorandums and records in the Tax Analysts case. Those issues, Mr. Schoenfeld informed them, had been resolved…

Both analysts, Donna Moore and Terrell M. Berkovsky, wrote memorandums specifying that they had been instructed not to address issues like whether the church was engaged in too much commercial activity or whether its activities provided undue private benefit to its leaders.

IRS tax analysts were forbidden from considering substantive matters. Why did Commissioner Goldberg give such an order? This seems to be a serious violation of IRS rules. Did Commissioner Goldberg violate the US Constitution he was sworn to uphold?

As the 9th Circuit Court noted in Sklar v. Commissioner, the IRS expressed an unconstitutional denominational preference for Scientology by granting it tax exemption:

The Supreme Court has developed a framework for determining whether a statute grants an unconstitutional denominational preference. Under that test, articulated in Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228, 246-47, 102 S.Ct. 1673, 72 L.Ed.2d 33 (1982), the first inquiry is whether or not the law facially discriminates amongst religions. The second inquiry, should it be found that the law does so discriminate, is whether or not, applying strict scrutiny, that discrimination is justified by a compelling governmental interest. Applying this test to the policy of the IRS towards the Church of Scientology, the initial inquiry must be whether the policy facially discriminates amongst religions. Clearly it does, as this tax deduction is available only to members of the Church of Scientology…

Because the facial preference for the Church of Scientology embodied in the IRS’s policy regarding its members cannot be justified by a compelling governmental interest, we would, if required to decide the case on the ground urged by the Sklars, first determine that the IRS policy constitutes an unconstitutional denominational preference under Larson, 456 U.S. at 230, 102 S.Ct. 1673.

It is time for acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin to jointly call for an investigation into Scientology’s tax exemption. Scientology engaged in fraud and misrepresented material facts to the IRS to gain its tax exemption. The 9th Circuit opined in Sklar that the IRS granting Scientology tax exemption constituted an unconstitutional denominational preference.

Since gaining tax exemption Scientology has continued to engage in violations of public policy, bad faith, lies, and psycho-terrorism all funded by tax exempt dollars. This is an outrage. The illegality doctrine clearly applies in the case of the Church of Scientology:

Los Angeles Times: Private investigator for Church of Scientology alleges he was paid by Church attorney to recant statement to police

(Note: The following summary was written by Tony Ortega and is reprinted from his blog)


Kim Christensen, the L.A. Times reporter who broke the story last year about Scientology leader David Miscavige hiring private investigators Dwayne and Daniel Powell to follow his own father, Ron Miscavige, after Ron escaped from Scientology in 2012, has an important update today that is on the newspaper’s front page.

The most striking thing in Christensen’s story last year was that the Powells told West Allis, Wisconsin police that they had been told by David Miscavige personally simply to stand by and let Ron die when they observed him having what they thought was a heart attack. “If he dies, he dies,” David reportedly told them.

Dwayne Powell later submitted a declaration that he had been misquoted by the police in their report of his interview, and that he did not talk to David Miscavige. The police in Wisconsin stood by their report.

Now, today, buried fairly deep in a lengthy story about Ron’s recent memoir, “Ruthless,” Christensen drops a small bomb.

Christensen obtained pay records showing that Powell was given $16,000 in five payments after his 2013 arrest and just before his submission of the declaration, even though he was no longer following Ron Miscavige.

The pay disbursements had come from notorious Scientology lawyer Kendrick Moxon. Would Moxon pay someone to say things in a declaration that the church wanted to hear?

Christensen doesn’t say it, but we’ve already proved that Moxon would do such a thing.

Back in 1999, we showed through documents that when a man named Robert Cipriano agreed to sign a false declaration accusing attorney Graham Berry of sexual improprieties in his past, Moxon arranged for Cipriano to get a job, rented him a place to live, and leased him a car.

Moxon, naturally, denied to the Times that his payments to Powell had anything to do with Powell issuing his declaration denying that he’d talked to Miscavige.

In the spring of 2015, just weeks before Powell signed the declaration, a Scientology attorney paid him at least $16,000 for “security” services in five payments, according to check stubs obtained by The Times. The checks were written on the trust account of Kendrick Moxon, a prominent Scientology attorney in Los Angeles, the records show.

Reached by phone, Powell confirmed the payments but would not comment on them.

But he did say that he had not worked for the church after giving up his Florida private investigator’s license in 2014, when he was indicted on a federal charge of possessing an illegal silencer. It was dismissed when he entered a pretrial diversion program.

Moxon told The Times in a written response that Powell performed “security and research services” for his firm last year.

“The relationship between this firm and any investigators I retain is privileged and confidential,” he wrote. “However, I can categorically state for the record that no payments were made to Mr. Powell for the testimony in his truthful declaration.”

But Powell told the Times that he was paid to write the declaration, which was written for him and which he signed in a meeting that took ten minutes.

So what have we learned? That Dwayne Powell did tell West Allis police that David Miscavige told him to stand by and watch Ron Miscavige die. (Ron actually wasn’t having a heart attack.) And that fact becoming public freaked out Scientology so much it paid Powell $16,000 to lie and claim that he’d said no such thing.

But once again, Moxon is busted by his own documents. And congratulations to the L.A. Times!


Excerpts from the Los Angeles Times story:

For more than a year, Powell told detectives, he and his son had followed Miscavige, eavesdropped on him and spied on his emails. They were paid $10,000 a week through an intermediary, he told police, explaining that David Miscavige was the “main client.”

On one outing, Powell told police, he saw Ron Miscavige clutch his chest while loading his car and thought he was having a heart attack. He called his go-between for instructions, and minutes later a man who identified himself as David Miscavige called back and told him that “if it was Ron’s time to die, to let him die and not intervene in any way,” a police report states…

…Police in that Milwaukee suburb stand by their account: “There is no confusion in the statements that were made by Dwayne and Daniel Powell,” Chief Patrick Mitchell said in an email.

Now, in the latest twist in the saga of church-sanctioned surveillance, Powell says he was paid thousands of dollars to sign the declaration after church attorneys summoned him to a meeting last year in Atlanta.

“The whole meeting took less than 10 minutes,” he said. “They said, ‘This is what this is, and this is what it’s for. Goodbye and good luck.’ ”