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Marty Rathbun’s project becomes clear: Someone’s worried about Scientology & the IRS

Well, the project is becoming clear. Someone is apparently worried about losing his precious tax exemption.

In Marty Rathbun’s most recent video segments in his remarkable turnaround from one of the Church of Scientology’s biggest defectors and critics of all time into an apologist who is aping church talking points, Rathbun tries to rewrite history regarding the church and its long battles with the IRS.

But Rathbun is going to have a difficult time refuting an earlier, detailed explanation of how that battle went down: His own.

The Church of Scientology has always maintained that it was entitled to the tax exemption it received from the IRS in 1993, and it was just a matter of passing through a rigorous two-year audit and had nothing to do with decades of harassment and thousands of lawsuits it had filed against the agency. Marty Rathbun was one of the key people who ran that harassment operation and who was involved with the ultimate victory over the IRS. And now, he’s parroting the church’s position, that this was simply a matter of the IRS granting the church what it deserved.


But that’s not what Rathbun said in the past — and under oath.

In 2010, Marty Rathbun provided a detailed court declaration about his involvement in Scientology for a lawsuit brought against the church by Claire Headley. We think it’s probably pretty useful to excerpt some key portions of it to remind everyone what a different tune Rathbun was singing just a few years ago.

As Inspector General Ethics I directed and coordinated a broad-based attack on the Internal Revenue Service. The purpose of the campaign was to put the IRS into a more amenable frame of mind so that they would relent in their own decades long refusal to grant tax exempt status to the churches. In late summer 1991, when sufficient pressure was accomplished, Miscavige and I directly approached then-IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg to open settlement negotiations. Those negotiations were initiated and conducted over the next two years. Miscavige and I traveled across the country together to meet with the IRS regularly until October 1993 when the IRS granted tax exempt status to all churches of Scientology and related organizations.

Miscavige directed large bonuses be paid to Religious Technology Center executives during the first several years of his reign as COB RTC. He justified it based on policy within the church and the Sea Org by the founder L. Ron Hubbard which stated he wished to see the day when Scientology staff were well paid. Accordingly, the fact was not hidden that CSI and RTC executives were well paid in the late eighties and early nineties. Of course, Miscavige’s pay was consistently higher than anyone’s. In fact, he had to have other executives being paid something in the neighborhood of his own pay until tax exemption was attained as the IRS required detailed reports on the pay of RTC highest executives. The IRS record reflects that during the years 89-91 RTC executives received salaries ranging from the low tens of thousands to mid tens of thousands per years. Miscavige reported salaries from the mid tens of thousands to the high tens of thousands. When that issue seemed to be settled to the IRS’ satisfaction, Miscavige canceled bonuses for all RTC and CSI executives. At one point when the IRS wanted some more current information on executive salaries, Miscavige’s wife and Assistant Shelly severely rebuked me for having refused a bonus as I considered it unearned. Under pressure I relented and went ahead and received the bonus so as to “protect COB.” Once exemption was attained, high bonuses for CSI and RTC executives were virtually wiped out. With one glaring exception, David Miscavige and his wife continued to be paid a combined salary upwards of one hundred thousand dollars for years to come. Other RTC and CSI staff executives were for the most part paid fifty dollars per week.

Shortly after tax exemption was obtained and announced and the record of the negotiated settlement became public, reporters began focusing on David Miscavige’s and Shelly Miscavige’s combined six figure salary. I was fielding calls from the New York Times, LA Times, and St. Petersburg Times on that narrow subject. Miscavige began making insane demands that I spike the stories. He became abusive and violent toward me as if I could make the cold, hard facts go away. Because of that, combined with Miscavige’s increasingly lavish lifestyle, his unnatural obsession with actor Tom Cruise, and his increasingly abusive behavior toward staff and myself, I began to question whether the long, hard fight with the IRS was about protecting the religion or instead about protecting Miscavige’s personal power and lifestyle choices…

Between approximately 1993 when IRS tax exempt status was obtained and the present, David Miscavige has been executing a program of his own design that has transformed the church of Scientology from a recognized religious organization into a commercial operation devoted almost exclusively toward increasing his own wealth, entertainment, comfort, and power.

So, let’s go through the bullet points:

— Scientology battled the IRS until it was softened up enough to consider a settlement.
— Salaries were paid to Scientology executives just long enough to fool the IRS and complete the settlement.
— Scientology is actually a commercial enterprise aimed at benefiting one person, David Miscavige.

This is what Marty Rathbun testified to in 2010, and it’s consistent with decades of reporting on the Church of Scientology and the IRS by journalists, spelled out in documents, and said by other former insiders.

But now, Rathbun wants you to believe that journalists, including Larry Wright, have been inventing stories in order to make the Church of Scientology look bad. And that there’s a conspiracy to create a false impression about the church in order to convince the IRS to review its 1993 decision.

We think it would be just grand if the IRS took a new look at Scientology. Why? Because of what Marty Rathbun and others have said about it, that’s why.

Instead of attacking Wright and others, Rathbun is going to have to deal with the fact that it’s his own previous statements that he is contradicting.

We’ll leave you with a few memes that we hope make it crystal clear just how dishonest his project is. Feel free to disseminate them.


Here’s another example of Rathbun blaming Lawrence Wright for inventing something that was, in fact, pretty conclusively the actual situation…


And here’s Rathbun claiming that it was a conspiracy between Lawrence Wright (book Going Clear, 2013), Alex Gibney (film Going Clear, 2015), Mike Rinder (blog starting 2013), and Tony Ortega (blog starting 2012), to say that Scientology’s tax exempt status was now fraudulent and should be reviewed. Oh, what was it Rathbun said, under oath, in 2010?


And again, it’s not that Rathbun is simply saying he’s changed his mind. He’s accusing Lawrence Wright of dishonesty, when it’s easily shown that Wright was reporting what Rathbun himself had said…




Can you believe it? We’re just a week out from the start of HowdyCon 2017 in Denver. If you are planning to join us Saturday night for our main event, we need to have your RSVP and dinner payment as soon as possible. Make sure you have confirmed with Kim O’Brien, our coordinator, and visit our HowdyCon website where she has instructions for how you can pay for the dinner fee that night. You need to do that right away to make sure you’ll be included in the Saturday night festivities, which include:

— London-based Australian journalist Steve Cannane talking about his book Fair Game
— A spoken-word performance from former Sea Org official Claire Headley
— Cathy Schenkelberg performing for us scenes from her one-woman show, “Squeeze My Cans”

You don’t want to miss out, so please visit the convention page and get in contact with Kim.

HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center. Go here to start making your plans.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,783 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,540 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,886 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,380 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,420 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,132 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 658 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,747 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,887 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,207 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,182 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 538 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,840 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 947 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,349 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,222 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 803 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,308 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,552 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,661 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 16, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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