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Proof that the US government has all it needs to act on Scientology — and it has for 50 years

[Mitchell Rogovin]

We’re curious to see how today’s document hits you. You may cheer at the sight of a top US government lawyer putting the word “church” in quote marks when he refers to Scientology, but when we finished reading this letter, we were angry.

This is a letter written in 1966 — more than fifty years ago — from Mitchell Rogovin, an assistant US Attorney General, to the IRS, asking for the agency’s help as the US government was about to go to war with Scientology over its tax exempt status. A year later, the government won that battle, and Scientology was stripped of church status, and would spend the next 26 years fighting to get it back. (The letter ended up in the FDA’s files as part of its own investigation of Scientology which was happening at the same time, and was found for us by the indefatigable R.M. Seibert.)

What angered us was to see Rogovin, a lawyer in the top law enforcement agency in the country, describing so clearly what a sham Scientology was, that it was pretending to be a church so unqualified people could practice unlicensed psychiatric processes on victims at an hourly rate, and while claiming that it had unlocked the secrets of the universe.

There are plenty of other problems with Scientology but that, folks, is a pretty good basic description of why Scientology is a menace, and it was spelled out cold in a letter from this country’s highest law enforcement authority. Fifty-two years ago.

That’s how long the highest levels of the US government have known why Scientology is a danger to the public. That’s how long the US government has known about Scientology’s essential scam, and yet in 1993 — after raiding Scientology in 1977 and sending 11 of its top officials to prison — it gave tax exempt status back to the Church of Scientology, and has been largely hands off since then.


Think about the energy exerted, year after year, by former Scientologists, journalists, and activists trying to raise awareness about Scientology’s abuses, and trying to get the US government to care. And yet, for half a century, the government has known. Why does it fail to act? That’s something we wonder about every day of the week.

Here’s the letter.

September 22, 1966

Honorable Lester R. Uretz
Chief Counsel
Internal Revenue Service
Washington D.C. 20224

Re: Founding Church of Scientology v. United States

Dear Mr. Uretz:

The principal issue in the above-stated case is whether the alleged church is exempt from federal income taxation as a religious organization within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. As we view it, there are essentially two questions involved in our case. The first is whether scientology is a “religion.” The second is whether the alleged church is really a profit-making organization for certain individuals.

This organization was founded by L. Ron Hubbard, a science-fiction writer in 1955, as an outgrowth of an earlier movement called “Dianetics.” The alleged church is located at 1812-19th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., with branches in almost every major city in the United States. It is part of an international organization with headquarters in England, and branches in France; West Germany; Australia; New Zealand; and South Africa.

L. Ron Hubbard who is still the leader of scientology explains in his literature that it was established as a church in order to be protected from medical practice laws and to provide the practitioners with an avenue of access as ministers into hospitals, insane asylums, penitentiaries and other restricted places. The church organization has also been described to individuals by its members to be a “tax dodge.” Consequently, many individuals untrained in psychiatry have become practitioners of the organization and have made their activities a means of livelihood.

During the taxable years in issue, the organization promoted and sold an electrical device called the “E-Meter” for the auditing of individuals, who paid $22 an hour for this service; an electric current was passed through the subject as in a lie-detector causing certain neurophysical effects. It marketed a pill called “Dianezene” which it claimed could prevent the radiation effects resulting from atomic bomb testing.

Moreover, it appears that the Founding Church claims the ability to cure diseases, including cancer, having discovered the ultimate secrets of life and the universe. On January 4, 1963, approximately 14 deputy marshals and several Food and Drug Administration inspectors seized at least 100 packages and boxes of pamphlets and several dozen boxes of electrical gadgets as the Government moved against its Washington headquarters. This action has resulted in a considerable amount of publicity and congressional inquiry, since the “church” argues that the gadgets are religious instruments for use as part of its “confessional.” Additional complaints regarding the Founding Church’s operations have been made to local police stations, medical associations, psychiatric associations, better business bureaus and state welfare departments.

In the preparation for our defense of this case, we desire certain information concerning the various scientological organizations and individuals connected therewith. We are especially interested in developing evidence and witnesses knowledgeable in the background and operations of this organization and its affiliates. Accordingly, we have attached a list of known scientological groups and affiliates, individuals active in the movement, and public and private organizations which have received serious complaints regarding scientology operations.

We are also interested in substantiating the validity of L. Ron Hubbard’s academic and professional background.

We, therefore, request that a supplemental investigation be instituted in order to ascertain in detail the specified information. If any of the individuals interviewed might be usable as witnesses in this case, it would be most helpful if you could indicate their names and business addresses. Copies of correspondence, books, accounts or other tangible things relevant to the above-mentioned issues should also be made.

Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely yours,

Mitchell Rogovin
Assistant Attorney General
Tax Division

Rogovin was an interesting figure. He was known as a civil rights lawyer of the highest caliber in Washington, and was hired by New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan to defend him when the government sued him over publishing the Pentagon Papers.

Rogovin’s clients also included Common Cause, the Wilderness Society, the CIA, the IRS, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

And in 1967, he helped take Scientology’s tax exempt status away because he could see so clearly the threat it posed. Where are the Mitchell Rogovins in US government today?

Here’s the document itself, with attached lists…

Mitchell Rogovin Letter to the IRS by Tony Ortega on Scribd




Please join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,199 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,802 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 345 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 233 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,408 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,182 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,956 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,302 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,868 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,536 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,796 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,836 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,548 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,074 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,163 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,303 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,623 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,479 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,598 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 954 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,256 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,362 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,765 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,637 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,219 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,724 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,968 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,077 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 7, 2018 at 07:00

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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 can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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