Church of Scientology US Lobbying

From UmbraXenu
Jump to: navigation, search

Lobbying in the United States describes paid and pro bono activity in which special interests hire well-connected professional advocates, typically lawyers and former bureaucrats, to argue for or against specific legislation and regulations in decision-making bodies of government. It is a highly controversial phenomenon, often seen in a negative light by journalists and the American public when corporations use lobbying as a means of gaining influence for the benefit of their own profitable.[1] While the bulk of lobbying happens by business and professional interests who hire paid professionals, some lobbyists represent non-profits pro bono for social issues. Pro bono lobbyists typically coordinate advocacy activities to sway public opinion, form like-minded coalitions for promoting a common cause and socialize with local legislators at events like fundraisers and awards ceremonies.[2] Public disclosure documentation shows that the Church of Scientology lobbying activities primarily focuses on two areas: corporate interests related to swaying legislation and regulatory actions that financially benefits one or more of their organizations; and foreign policy leverage for enlisting help when other countries deny them the same non-profit tax breaks or religious freedoms they enjoy in the United States.

Annual spending summary

The Church of Scientology has a long history of using lobbyists to gain influence and special interest protections. Their efforts significantly increased after gaining tax exempt status from the IRS in 1993 with annual spending ranging in the high six-digit figures and cumulative totals topping $1 million dollars for a period of 5-6 years.[3] Public records currently available online from the Center for Responsive Politics, the US House of Representatives and the US Senate reflect a downward trend in recent years for money spent by Scientology entities where it took a dozen years for cumulative annual spending to top $1 million dollars.[4]

Religious Technology Center

Lobbying Spending Database - Religious Technology Center.png http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?id=F22357

Church of Scientology International

Lobbying Spending Database - Church of Scientology International.png http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?id=D000048670

Church of Spiritual Technology

Lobbying Spending Database - Church of Spiritual Technology.png http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?id=F3734

Citizens Commission of Human Rights

Lobbying Spending Database - Citizens Commission of Human Rights.png http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?id=F51254

Cumulative totals

The following summary chart is derived from Open Secrets Lobbying Database.[5]

ScnLobbying.jpg

Registered agents

(add lobbyists by corp + meta info, quick reference table)

Pro bono lobbyists

According to public disclosure records (see External links), the following lobbyists volunteered to advocate to Scientology's best interest in (number?) branches of the US Government.

Peter Klestadt

Peter Klestadt, a Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt lobbyist, worked as an unpaid emissary for Church of Spiritual Technology interests from (dates?). Scientology spent no money on Klestadt's services, which focused primarily on the following issues:

  • (main issues list)

Richard Wortman

Rich Wortman, a Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt lobbyist, worked as unpaid emissary for Church of Spiritual Technology interests from (dates?). Scientology spent no money on Wortman's services, which focused primarily on the following issues:

  • (main issues list)

Quid pro quo lobbyists

According to public disclosure records (see External links), the following hired gun lobbyists advocated for Scientology's best interest in (number?) branches of the US Government.

Stephen Amitay

Steve Amitay, a Federal Legislative Associates lobbyist, worked as an advocate for Religious Technology Center interests from (dates?). Scientology spent approximately (moneyamt?) for Amitay's services, which focused primarily on the following issues:

  • (main issues list)

Sam Brunelli

Sam Brunelli, a Team Builders lobbyist, worked as an advocate for Citizens Commission of Human Rights interests from (dates?). Scientology spent approximately (moneyamt?) for Brunelli's services, which focus primarily on the following issues:

  • (main issues list)

Politician Dan Burton

Former Congressman Danny Lee Burton, a self-employed lobbyist, currently works as an advocate for Citizens Commission of Human Rights interests. Scientology has spent approximately (moneyamt?) for Burton's services since he first registered CCHR as his only client on (date?), and he has primarily focused on the following issues:

  • (main issues list)

Lybra Clemons

Lybra Clemons, a Federal Legislative Associates lobbyist, worked as a hired gun advocate for Religious Technology Center interests from (dates?). Scientology spent approximately (moneyamt?) for Clemons' services, which focused primarily on the following issues:

  • (main issues list)

David H. Miller

David Miller, a Federal Legislative Associates lobbyist, worked as an advocate for Religious Technology Center interests from (dates?). Scientology spent approximately (moneyamt?) for Miller's services, which focused primarily on the following issues:

  • (main issues list)

Scientologist Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell, a self-employed lobbyist, currently works as an advocate for Church of Scientology International interests.

Scientology has spent approximately 1.2 million dollars for Mitchell's services[6][7] since he first registered CSI as a client with a effective date of October 1, 2003 when he declared the client's business or activities as "religion, social betterment." At that time, Mitchell described his current and anticipated lobbying issues as "Social betterment programs dealing with drug abuse/addiction, illiteracy, crime, moral decay, and detoxification."[8]

The following tables lists the General lobbying issue area codes Mitchell declared when he initially registered CSI as a client for his services (Form LD-1), in addition to the codes he listed to describe his actual lobbying activities in his semi-annual and quarterly disclosure reports (Form LD-2).

Lobbyist Greg Mitchell public disclosure data 2013-2015
for client name Church of Scientology International.
Lobbying
Code
General Issue Area Disclosure
Type(s)
Approximate
Income
ALC Alcohol & Drug Abuse LD-1, LD-2 $14.2k
BNK Bankruptcy LD-2 $2.2k
EDU Education LD-1, LD-2 $52.5k
FOR Foreign Relations LD-2 $634.5k
HCR Health Issues LD-1, LD-2 $52.5k
IMM Immigration LD-2 $119.9k
LAW Law Enforcement/Crime/Criminal Justice LD-1, LD-2 $297.3k
REL Religion LD-1 $0
TRD Trade (Domestic & Foreign) LD-2 $20k

From 2004 through 2006, Greg Mitchell has also worked pro bono on behalf of Citizens for Social Reform, a Political Action Committee founded in 2001 by Scientologists.

Other representatives

The following experts were reportedly advocating for Scientology's best interest to the US Government in the past, but no public disclosure records exist in the online databases due to either date limitations and/or disclosure exemptions for certain types of social activities.

Consultant Joe Grieboski

...

Publicists Hill & Knowlton

...

Focus of lobbyist activity

(add agency/govbody by corp/lobbyist + meta info, quick reference table)

Governing bodies

US House of Representatives

US Senate

White House

Executive branch and cabinet departments

Department of Homeland Security

US Citizenship and Immigration Services

US Department of Justice

Federal Bureau of Prisons

US State Department

International Religious Freedom Commission

US Trade Representative

Defense and military branches

US Department of Defense

US Army

US Navy

Other federal agencies

US Department of Commerce

US Department of Education

US Department of Health and Human Services

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA

Targeted legislation

Lobbyists for Church of Scientology International (CSI) and Citizens Commission of Human (CCHR) have disclosed activities in regards to attempting to influence the outcome of the following legislative and regulatory actions to the benefit of the client's corporate interests.[5]

Year Client[9] Issue Lobbyist(s) Approx.
Spending
2004 CSI Bankruptcy law and charitable donation protections amendments Greg Mitchell $24.4k
2004 CSI Second Chance Act Greg Mitchell $24.4k
2005 CSI Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act 2006 Greg Mitchell $26.7k
2006 CSI Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act 2006 Greg Mitchell $20k
2006 CSI Second Chance Act Greg Mitchell $20k
2006 CSI Support for Human Rights Day/Week resolutions Greg Mitchell $20k
2007 CSI Second Chance Act Greg Mitchell $30k
2007 CSI Religious Freedom Restoration Act Greg Mitchell $20k
2008 CSI Second Chance Act Greg Mitchell $48k
2008 CSI Religious Worker Visa Extension Act Greg Mitchell $24k
2008 CSI Legal Immigration Extension Act Greg Mitchell $24k
2008 CSI Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program Act Greg Mitchell $24k
2009 CSI Prison Litigation Reform Act Greg Mitchell $10k
2009 CSI Second Chance Act Greg Mitchell $17.5k
2009 CSI National Criminal Justice Commission Act Greg Mitchell $21.7k
2009 CSI Re-authorization of special immigration programs: Greg Mitchell $55.9k
2010 CSI National Criminal Justice Commission Act Greg Mitchell $30k
2010 CSI Second Chance Act Greg Mitchell $17.5k
2010 CSI Foreign Prison Conditions Improvement Act Greg Mitchell $55k
2011 CSI International Religious Freedom Act Amendments Greg Mitchell $12.5k
2011 CSI US Commission on International Religious Freedom Appropriations Bills 2011 Greg Mitchell $12.5k
2011 CSI Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the
Near East and South Central Asia Bills
Greg Mitchell $12.5k
2011 CSI Second Chance Act Greg Mitchell $12.5k
2011 CSI National Criminal Justice Commission Act Greg Mitchell $12.5k
2011 CSI Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act Greg Mitchell $12.5k
2011 CSI Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2011 Greg Mitchell $12.5k
2011 CSI Prison Litigation Reform Act Greg Mitchell $12.5k
2012 CSI SAFE Act opposition Greg Mitchell $3.3k
2012 CSI Magnitsky Act Greg Mitchell $3.3k
2012 CSI EB-5, E-verify and Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Programs Extension Bill Greg Mitchell $3.3k
2012 CSI Iran state-sponsored persecution of its Baha'i minority resolution Greg Mitchell $3.3k
2014 CSI US Commission on International Religious Freedom Appropriations Bills 2014 Greg Mitchell $21.3k
2014 CSI Persecution of minority groups within Burma resolution Greg Mitchell $6.5k
2015 CSI International Religious Freedom Act Amendments Greg Mitchell $11.2k
2015 CSI US Commission on International Religious Freedom Appropriations Bills 2015 Greg Mitchell $23.9k
2015 CSI FIRST Freedom Act opposition Greg Mitchell $8.3k
2015 CSI ISIL atrocities against minorities joint resolutions Greg Mitchell $3.3k
2015 CSI Magnitsky Act Greg Mitchell $2.9k
2015 CSI Global repeal of blasphemy laws resolution Greg Mitchell $3.3k
2015 CSI Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program Act Greg Mitchell $2.9k
2016 CSI International Religious Freedom Act Amendments Greg Mitchell $12.2k
2016 CSI Freedom of Information Act Amendments Greg Mitchell $5k
2016 CSI ISIL atrocities against minorities joint resolutions Greg Mitchell $2.2k


Common issues

(add pie chart for summariing data in the quick reference table above)

See also

Notes

  1. Evangeline Marzec of Demand Media (2012-01-14). "What Is Corporate Lobbying?". Chron.com. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/corporate-lobbying-11729.html. Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  2. Barry Hessenius (2007). "Hardball Lobbying for Nonprofits: Real advocacy for nonprofits in the new century". Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-8202-3. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  3. David Dahl of St. Petersburg Times (1998-03-2). "Scientology's influence grows in Washington". sptimes.com. http://www.sptimes.com/Worldandnation/32998/Scientology_s_influen.html. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  4. Hunter Walker of Business Insider (2015-04-8). "Meet Scientology's lobbyist who works the halls of Congress for the church". businessinsider.com. http://www.businessinsider.com/church-of-scientology-washington-lobbyist-2015-4. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Center for Responsive Politics. "OpenSecrets Lobbying." Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  6. Mitchell, G. (n.d.). Search Results for Client Name Church of Scientology All Filing Types. Retrieved August 2, 2016, from http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldsearch.aspx
  7. Mitchell, G. (n.d.). Query Results for Client Name Church of Scientology. Retrieved August 2, 2016, from http://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=selectfields
  8. Mitchell, G. (2003, November 25). LD-1 Lobbying Registration (PDF). Washington, DC: Clerk of the House of Reprsentatives, Legislative Resource Center. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  9. NOTE: Targeted Legislation "Client" links to OpenSecrets lobbying database indicates the legislation was properly reference by its full title in the lobbyist disclosure report(s). Absence of a link indicates the legislation was referenced indirectly or by an alternate name/title in a way that was not easily identifiable by OpenSecrets automated data processing and was extrapolated by R.M. Seibert during editing.

External links