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Before and after Jonestown Bob Dole looked into cults — so Scientology targeted him

Former Kansas Senator Bob Dole died yesterday at the age of 98. He was a WW2 veteran, a respected lawmaker, and sought the presidency multiple times, becoming the GOP candidate in 1996, losing out to Bill Clinton’s re-election bid.

In 1976 and 1979, Dole called for informal hearings on cults in Congress. In 1976, it was at the request, he said, of some 14,000 Kansans who had signed petitions asking him to look into cult influences. Then, in 1979 he called for additional meetings after the horror of Jonestown the previous year.

The meetings seemed to alarm Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church the most, which got considerable coverage at the time for protesting Dole’s inquiries.

Less well known, however, is that Scientology targeted Dole for investigations to dig up “dirt” on him because he dared to raise questions about such groups.


We know this, thanks to dogged researcher R.M. Seibert, who found a remarkable letter in a collection of Dole’s papers regarding his meetings on cults.

It’s a letter that was written by Paulette Cooper.

Paulette, of course, is the daring journalist who was among the first to expose Scientology in book form with her 1971 paperback The Scandal of Scientology. Even before that book came out, she was targeted with the most infamous campaign of Scientology terror, which included framing her for a crime that nearly put her in federal prison for 15 years. She’s the subject of our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, and if you’ve read it you know that after she managed to survive that frame job she was eager to get access to the documents the FBI collected when it raided Scientology in 1977.

Early in 1980, a large portion of those documents finally became available, and Paulette was among the first to get access to them, spending days with her good friend Nan McLean as they copied thousands of secret Scientology records released by the court.

And now, we can reveal that among the things she found were references to Bob Dole.

Upset that Dole had called for the 1976 meeting, Scientology’s spy wing, the Guardian’s Office, called for action against him, and Paulette found the notations about it in the records that were released in 1980.

“[Dole] is the only Congressional terminal to be taking any action on this line as in addition on 9 JAN 76 he requested that the IRS investigate Rev Moon’s Unification Church which they did. It is recommended that Dole be thoroughly investigated for enemy connections and dirt,” says one entry on a typed GO memo that Paulette found.


Another memo, handwritten and difficult to read, called for local action in Kansas to target the senator. “Hit Dole very hard wholly on his territory, possib thru another Congressman… follow up by hitting him in Kansas, where his voters live, with Petitions, etc.,” it reads.

Paulette wrote to Dole to inform him of these alarming statements in a letter that Seibert found in the Dole collection, and we have it for you below.

(Seibert asked that we give the letter this formal attribution: Robert and Elizabeth Dole Archive and Special Collections, University of Kansas. Ann Lindgren Cult Research Files 1979-84, Box 364 Folder 9.)

We called Paulette to ask her about it, but after more than 40 years, she has no memory of sending the letter.


“I was in Washington. I was going through the documents and I was sending them to various people in order to warn them, and also to get Scientology more enemies, you know?” she says with a laugh. “The letter is in keeping with what I was doing in those days. That’s why they loved me so much.”

If Dole had replied, she thinks she would have kept it, so she suspects that he didn’t reply.

We’re struck that even the GO noted that Dole was the only figure in all of Congress who seemed to care about the damage being done by such groups. So in some ways, things have hardly changed.



Jon Atack and Jeffrey Augustine



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Source Code

“You go in one of these modern cemeteries, one of these nice modern ones. Boo! There’s more trapped thetans around that joint than you care to measure up in a long day of Sundays. And if you want to amuse yourself, put out a line on them and say, ‘Hey fella, why don’t you get on your way?’ And they sort of feel groggy, ‘Huh? Voice of God, must be the voice of God.’ So you want to play God? Well you ought to go down and do this some time just for kicks. Put a little bit of an energy beam on them and, or plant the thought, ‘You are now on top of the grave.’ Or, ‘You are now on top of the headstone.’ And if you really want to pour the juice into them — it’s kind of bad to hypnotize thetans, I usually feel sorry for them — if you want to pull the, if you want to pour the juice in on them and go just brrwhack! ‘You are now on top of the tombstone.’ There isn’t any doubt about your getting them out, truth be known. You can put out enough energy. Beam in, sort of bore a little hole in the guy’s head and then, and then put the energy concentration flow into the center of his forehead, in in in in in in in, and his skull will go spatter, brains and all. This is no joke. I mean, I’m not joking about this.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 6, 1952


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Div 6 had better start looking to crew entertainment. Terri Gillham had to capture a British Submarine to give the crew some movies. I think that’s a bit extraordinary.” — The Commodore, December 6, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Outside of Ron’s, there is no other tech out there. The best others have is a temporary stilling of the mind, which is well-nigh impossible to achieve. Keying oneself out by various means such as physical exercise or going on holiday or re-arranging the furniture is only temporary, bringing a few minutes or hours of relief, at best. The only other recourse is alcohol or drugs, with catastrophic penalties.”



Past is Prologue

2001: The Associated Press reported that in a Vanity Fair article, Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise credits Scientology with helping him handle life. “Tom Cruise says being a Scientologist for the past 15 years has given him the strength to handle the negativity that can exist Hollywood. ‘Life pounds you – you know what I mean? You come across losses. All of a sudden something happens and now you feel like you cannot go forward or it invalidates you. People die. Things happen in life that make it very difficult at times to be happy or to overcome certain problems. Scientology has helped me be able to figure out tools to understand exactly what a problem is, and how to overcome those problems.'”


Random Howdy

“Posting any old Scientology video isn’t automatically relevant. It should relate to the subject of the day’s article.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for February 8. Trial scheduled for August 29, 2022.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), false imprisonment, aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Next hearing scheduled for December 21.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference December 17 in Los Angeles

David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for February 11.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ US Supreme Court denied Valerie’s petition Oct 4.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments held November 2, awaiting a ruling.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9, 2020 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28, 2022.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 23. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society. Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in a weekly series. How many have you read?


[ONE year ago] Some of Scientology’s orgs around the country are boarded up. What gives, Dave?
[TWO years ago] Jackie Lacey insider: Unseat her in March if you want to see Danny Masterson charged
[THREE years ago] When Tom Cruise go-fer and budding flak Tommy Davis was getting his Scientology hat on
[FOUR years ago] Why is it so hard for governments to crack down on the Church of Scientology?
[FIVE years ago] Tonight on Leah Remini’s series, two more families get ripped apart and ‘fair gamed’
[SIX years ago] Postscript: How David Miscavige spun the death of Lisa McPherson
[SEVEN years ago] Jon Atack: How to get a convinced Scientologist on the road to recovery
[EIGHT years ago] How Does Scientology Take Over a Mind? Jefferson Hawkins Tells Us About “PTS”
[NINE years ago] Vance Woodward’s Book Addicted to Scientology Is An Amazing High
[TEN years ago] Michael Fairman Sues his Chiropractor — in Part to Legitimize the Independent Scientology Movement?


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,506 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,011 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,531 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,551 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,442 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,749 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,617 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,391 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,722 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,195 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,511 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,077 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,996 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,164 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,745 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,006 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,042 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,757 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,282 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 637 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,812 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,363 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,512 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,832 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,687 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,806 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,162 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,465 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,571 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,969 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,845 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,428 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,923 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,177 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,286 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 6, 2021 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | Shelly Miscavige, 15 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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