Here & There Political Influence:
Sonny Bono's third wife was Susie Coelho, listed in
Celebrity Center's Magazine [ sorry I dont know the date ]
as a completion of the "Success Through Communications Course"
The Head of the Republican Party of Pinellas County Florida
where the headquarters of scientology is, and where Lisa McPherson
died.. is Scientologist Ron Wiedoff listed in Freewinds Magazine
#25 issue 4 as a completion of the "Route to infinity course"
There is Scientologist IAS Member Jim Ayres,
[A $40,000 donor] [ Mag of the IAS Issue 72 - IMPACT Mag ]
N.B.: The Jim Ayres on the San Jacinto Planning Commission.
mentioned in the April 97 Hemet News
is NOT the Jim Ayres who is the Scientologist IAS Donor,
or related to him in any way
The "Rev" Ken Hoden describes himself as 'general manager
of Golden Era Productions in Gilman Hot Springs
Wed Jan 14 in a letter to editor - the Hemet News
Dedicated to help 'just folks' connect-the-dots
NEWS: Scientology's influence grows in Washington
Date: Fri, 03 Apr 1998 08:48:31 -0500
Copyright 1998 Times Publishing Company
St. Petersburg Times
March 29, 1998
By David Dahl
Scientology's influence grows in Washington
WASHINGTON - After years of holding the U.S. government in contempt, the
Church of Scientology is enlisting members of Congress, the U.S. State
Department and even President Clinton to advance its agenda in foreign
Prodded by the Scientologists' paid lobbyists and its cadre of
sympathetic entertainers, several lawmakers and the Clinton
administration have criticized the German government for allegedly
discriminating against Scientology practitioners. They even got their
argument against Germany to the floor of the House of Representatives
On another front, the organization and members of Congress have
complained to the U.S. Trade Representatives Office that the Swedish
government failed to protect Scientology copyrights. The trade office,
an arm of the administration, cited the copyright problem in deciding to
include Sweden on its watch list of governments under review for
possible trade agreement violations.
The lobbying push comes amid an ongoing criminal investigation into a
suspicious death of one of its parishioners at Scientology's Clearwater
headquarters - the latest in a history of controversy involving the
church. That history includes convictions of 11 Scientologists on
charges stemming from break-ins of government offices in the 1970s.
Critics call Scientology a money-making cult, but the organization says
it has reformed, and in the eyes of the IRS, it has. After a 40-year
battle, the IRS dropped its tax dispute with Scientology and declared it
a tax exempt religion in 1993.
Scientology has used lobbyists in Washington in the past, but in the
years since the IRS ruling the organization has stepped up its lobbying
effort. Records made public last week show that Religious Technology
Center, a Scientology affiliate in Los Angeles, paid almost $ 725,000 to
a Washington-based firm to lobby Congress in 1997 and 1996.
David H. Miller, the managing partner of Federal Legislative Associates,
said members of Congress initially were skeptical about his client and
its checkered past.
"What I've said to members is, "That's all bulls---. That's all
extraneous. Let's talk about the facts,' " he recalled, though he
concedes: "What they are trying to do is live down some of their past
Miller, 50, is a former congressional aide who has been a lobbyist for
18 years. He and his firm represent clients such as the American Bankers
Association and American Airlines. He is not, he said, a Scientologist.
"I think they have a very compelling story to tell. But they don't have
the numbers, like Jews, Catholics and Mormons," Miller said, assessing
the religious makeup of Congress.
While it's not uncommon for religious groups or other non-profit
organizations to lobby Congress, the campaign by Scientology is another
step in its effort to win legitimacy by currying favor with political
leaders around the country.
For instance, assorted governors and mayors have issued proclamations
favorable to Scientology. Actor John Travolta presented Scientology
educational materials at a volunteerism summit attended by Clinton last
year and said the president offered to help him in fighting
discrimination in Germany.
In an interview with George magazine, Travolta, a Scientologist,
recalled that the president told him: "I'd really love to help you with
your issue over in Germany with Scientology."
That account led to speculation in Washington that Travolta went easy on
the president by softening his portrayal of a Clinton-like southern
governor in the recently released movie, Primary Colors. Travolta denies
The German dispute Clinton, though, knew what Travolta cared about.
Scientology's dispute with the German government is the group's highest
priority in Washington these days. Church members complain the German
government has fostered discrimination that has gone as far as placing
Scientologists under surveillance.
Miller, the lobbyist, said he has gradually tried to build a foundation
of support that gives Scientologists' claims of discrimination credence
in Washington. The biggest victory in that regard has come from the U.S.
State Department, which criticized the German government for its
treatment of Scientologists in its annual human-rights report.
The group also won support from some members of Congress, according to
letters made available by the Church of Scientology. Then-U.S. Rep.
Carlos Moorhead, R-Calif., complained about Scientology's treatment in a
letter to the German Embassy in 1996. So did Sen. Barbara Boxer,
D-Calif., in a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright last
year. Three members of the U.S. House complained to National Security
Adviser Samuel Berger that the German government was placing members of
Scientology under observation.
"Placing individuals under government surveillance because of their
religious beliefs is a clear human-rights violation," wrote Reps. Ed
Pastor, D-Ariz.; Donald Payne, D-N.J.; and Robert Ney, R-Ohio.
Most of the lawmakers explain that they spoke up because they believe in
freedom of religion.
Moorhead, who is now a lobbyist, said, "My own religion is quite
contrary to theirs but that doesn't mean I don't support freedom of
Ney, the Ohio Republican who co-sponsored a resolution addressing the
issue, said religious freedom should exist despite Scientology's past
problems. "I could take you religion by religion and name (you)
controversy," Ney said. "I can tell you, (prominent Scientologists) Anne
Archer, Chick Corea and John Travolta are not mad people."
Miller said his lobbying effort has been aided by Scientology's star
power. Members such as actors Archer and Travolta and musicians Corea
and Issac Hayes are willing to speak up for their beliefs. The
entertainers came to Washington last year to lobby the administration
and Congress on the German matter.
Travolta and two other Scientology advocates met Berger as part of the
campaign. Miller acknowledges the national security adviser's interest
was probably heightened with someone of Travolta's renown making the
"I explained to them that we would continue to discuss with the German
government our general view that human rights should not be violated,"
Berger told NBC's Meet the Press.
Meantime, Miller was working the halls of Congress to pass a non-binding
resolution critical of the German government. He won support from
leaders of House caucuses who advocate on behalf of arts, Hispanics and
African Americans. His primary sponsor was Payne, a former chairman of
the Congressional Black Caucus.
Initially, the resolution centered largely on Scientology's complaints.
It was rewritten to attract broader support by adding complaints about
discrimination toward members of other religions.
It noted that the State Department's annual report had criticized
Germany for discriminating against Scientology. It said the House
"deplores the actions and statements of the federal, state, local and
party officials in Germany, which have fostered an atmosphere of
intolerance toward certain minority religious groups." And it urged
Clinton to "assert the concern of the United States government regarding
German government discrimination against members of minority religious
The resolution cleared the House International Relations Committee, but
ran into trouble when it reached the House floor in early November.
Said Rep. Doug Bereuter, R-Neb.: "I think it is important we not have
Tom Cruise or John Travolta setting foreign policy in this country and
think that is a driving factor behind this legislation."
Opponents entered letters into the congressional record showing that the
German ambassador refuted Scientology's allegations. The critics also
worried the House would be endangering an important relationship with an
key European ally.
The House voted 318-101 to reject the resolution. Among local lawmakers,
Rep. Michael Bilirakis, whose district includes Scientology's Clearwater
headquarters, voted for the resolution, explaining later that he's
always concerned when a group is singled out for persecution. Those
voting against included Reps. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Rocks Beach,
Karen Thurman, D-Dunnellon and Jim Davis, D-Tampa.
Miller, the lobbyist, sees a victory in the defeat. Now, 100 members of
Congress - supporter Sonny Bono died since the vote - are on record
supporting his cause. He said, "The important thing was to make a point
Miller said he is in regular contact with the National Security Council
and the State Department and is counting heads on Capitol Hill to see if
his group could persuade Congress to pass the Scientology-sponsored
"We're going to come back at it again. Let me tell you, it's well in the
works," he said.
Fighting over trademarks A second front for Scientologists is their
efforts to protect the church's writings and those of founder L. Ron
Hubbard from copyright infringement. Here, too, the organization has won
support from members of Congress and the Clinton administration.
One aspect of the issue stretches all the way to Sweden. That country's
government releases to the public any documents it receives, regardless
of whether someone holds a copyright. As a result, Scientology says
Hubbard's writings, which form part of the courses that cost
practitioners thousands of dollars, have been made available on the
Miller, again representing the Scientologists' Religious Technology
Center, told the U.S. Trade Representative that Sweden's release has
cost the organization millions of dollars. And, as it did with the
German dispute, the organization enlisted members of Congress.
Moorhead, while still in Congress, wrote the speaker of the Swedish
Parliament to complain about the copyright problem in 1996, addressing
him "as one member of a national legislature to another." He followed up
with a second letter to the speaker and also obtained a favorable
opinion on the matter from the Library of Congress copyright office.
Two other lawmakers, the late Rep. Bono, R-Calif., and Rep. Zoe Lofgren,
D-Calif., wrote to the Swedish government to complain about copyright
violations last year. So did the U.S. ambassador to Sweden.
Last spring, the U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefksy included
Sweden among 36 trading partners on the government's "watch list" for
trade problems, including the copyright problem cited by Scientology.
This year, Scientology is renewing its complaint, saying Sweden hasn't
fulfilled promises to honor its copyrights.
Another Scientology affiliate is lobbying Congress on a different
copyright matter. The company that oversees Hubbard's voluminous
writings, Author Services Inc., hired a lobbyist to push for legislation
that extends copyrights. That firm paid lobbyist Nicholas Wise $ 60,000
last year, records show.
Wise said Author Services is among a broad coalition of artists and
writers pushing bills that would extend copyright protections to 70
years after someone dies. The current protection lasts 50 years after
death, he said.
- Times Staff writer Bill Adair and Times researcher Kitty Bennett
contributed to this report.
Excerpt from Cobles letter to the Swedish Parliament:
"There is no doubt that Parliament's policy of continueing to make thematerial public availible will only serve to continue to harm the U.S. -Swedish relationship. Thank You for prompt attention to this matter.
SincerelyHoward Coble Chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts & Intellectual property"
Interview on Swedish Televison Channel 4:
Reporter catches Coble (in a hurry to vote or something)
Reporter: Mr Coble ?
Coble: What is it about ?
Reporter: You wrote some letters to the Swedish Government and Parliament according the text of the Church of Scientology
Coble: I don't think so ... Mr Coby may have done that ....
Reporter: Coble !
Coble: I'm Coble
Reporter: Howard Coble ?
Coble: Yeah ... I don't remember the letters
Reporter: Not to the Minister of Justice and to the Parliament in Sweden ?
Coble: Not ... that don't start ringing a bell with me.... Get back to me and I'll .... How long ago have this been ?
Reporter: Quite recently
Coble: I'll be glad to talk to you but I have to go back ..this bill ...
Reporter: But you don't remember the letters ?
Coble: No .. I've drawn a blank right now .. I'm not saying I didn't do it.. but you know all the times we send out hundreds of [?] pieces of mail over a period of a month's time. I don't remember.... but I may have...
Reporter: Church of Scientology - ring any bell ?
Coble: No ... not .... it's supposed to be rather recently ?
Coble: I'm drawing a blank
End interview - Coble goes away
High Government Officials:
I found this interesting item listed in the FBI's inventory of thedocuments which it seized in July 1977 from Scientology's Cedars-Sinaicomplex at 4833 Fountain Avenue, Hollywood, CA. The item's FBI-allocated serial number is 20674.
Unfortunately, it was one of thedocuments handed back to Scientology as non-material to the criminal prosecution of the Guardian's Office leadership.[ now called OSA ]
One page memo "Executive Directive, United States Guardian's Office dated 11 August 1976, captioned Government Celebrities". The memo in part indicatesthat "There are high government officials and theirrelatives in Scientology. Due to their importanceand positions, it will be an automatic Committee ofEvidence for an auditor or instructor to mess themup in any way."
The date of this document would suggest that the officials in questionwere members of Jimmy Carter's Democratic administration. Now, 20 yearson, we have a Democratic administration which has given an unprecedented level of support to Scientology (tax exemption in the US and diplomatic backup in its "war" with Germany). A coincidence - or not? Does anyoneknow how many in Clinton's Administration served under Carter as well?-- | Chris Owen - firstname.lastname@example.org |
if you liked this you will like the
Congressman Leo J Ryan Memorial page