Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, spiritual father of the Fair Tax bill in Congress

Today’s guest post is by historian Chris Owen, author of ‘Ron the War Hero

David Frum has rightly highlighted the Church of Scientology’s hidden role in promoting the so-called ‘Fair Tax’ bill, which House Republicans introduced earlier this year.



Frum linked to a 2007 Bruce Bartlett piece in the Wall Street Journal, but Bruce also wrote at more length about it for a CBS News piece and for the New Republic. I thought I’d add a bit more detail.

Bruce writes in his CBS News piece that the idea of replacing income tax with a national sales tax was promoted by “a man named Steven L. Hayes, the founder of a group called Citizens for an Alternative Tax System (CATS) … and who was … a prominent Scientologist.” And as Bruce says, “It wasn’t hard to figure out the Scientologists’ motives … The IRS had refused to recognize Scientology as a legitimate church … To remedy this situation, Scientologists waged war against the IRS.”

There’s another aspect that Bruce may not have been aware of: Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard was rabidly hostile to the idea of an income tax, for political reasons, well before the conflict between Scientology and the IRS began. During the 1950s, Hubbard was closely aligned with the US far right. He was linked to the circle of the Rev. Gerald L. K. Smith, the leader of the white nationalist, anti-Semitic America First Party, and Kenneth Goff, who chaired Smith’s Christian Youth for America group.

Hubbard emphasized to the apartheid government of South Africa “our loyalty to the Rightist cause” and cited Scientology’s listing in Liberty Lobby founder Willis Carto’s list of “rightist groups” in the United States as evidence of its status as a far-right organization.

Likely reflecting this connection with the far-right anti-government scene of the 1950s, Hubbard was outspoken in denouncing the very concept of income tax. He wrote in 1956 that mankind had become so desperate that: “[H]e will buy almost any ideology whether it is communism or druidism. He will buy the garbage of Marx and even write it unsuspectingly into the United States Constitution under the heading of ‘Income Tax.’”

In 1957, Hubbard issued a bulletin to Scientologists urging them to campaign for radical reform of income tax in the United States on the grounds that: “[T]he basic principles of US income tax were taken from Das Kapital and are aimed at destroying capitalism. Unless the US ceases to co-operate with this Red push, Communism could win in America.”

Not coincidentally, Scientology was raking in huge sums of money which Hubbard skimmed for the personal use of himself and his family. The IRS objected to this and revoked the church’s tax exemption in 1967, to Hubbard’s fury. Hubbard even embedded opposition to income tax into Scientology’s rather convoluted mythology. As Bruce mentions, Hubbard claimed that 75 million years ago, the evil galactic ruler “Xenu used phony tax inspections as a guise for destroying his enemies.”

In a series of still highly confidential memos dubbed the ‘Chug Advices’ written at the start of the 1980s, Hubbard said that millions of years ago, an advanced computer system on the planet Chug had exposed its ruling Duke as a secret criminal with hidden evil purposes. The Duke of Chug had pushed the population to the verge of revolution by embezzling huge sums from his larcenous income tax regime. However, his crimes had been detected by a planetary computer that was immune to “human emotion or reaction,” as Hubbard put it. It acted with speed, precision, and ruthless ethics, and ordered the execution of the Duke of Chug. The planet was saved and returned to normality. Hubbard’s Chug Advices are still used as the foundational principles of Scientology’s custom-built computer system, INCOMM.

It’s worth noting that all of this anti-government, anti-income tax hostility is still part of Scientology’s ‘scriptures’ today – Hubbard’s writings are compiled in numerous volumes which Scientologists still consider to be inerrant and unalterable.

Back to CATS. Launched in 1990, it was a front group that insiders say was wholly controlled by Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs (OSA), the church’s euphemistically named PR/dirty tricks/intelligence department. Vic Krohn, a veteran Scientologist who served as the first Executive Director of CATS, says it was entirely an OSA project. It was created by “a special unit dedicated to keeping the churches open under increasing IRS pressure.”

CATS’ connections with Scientology had to be deniable, as its existence was a blatant violation of the IRS’s requirements that tax-exempt churches shouldn’t engage in political activity. As Krohn put it: “In order to meet the corporate requirements (IRS provisos making substantial political activity a disqualifying factor for church tax-exempt status) for such blatant political/economic reform activity, CATS needed to operate independently of the church. “It was a constant battle to keep CATS activity off of OSA social reform lines [which were attributable to the church].”

Some of this tension can be seen in Scientology’s “social reform” magazine, ‘Freedom,’ which promoted the national sales tax in its pages in the 1990s – skating close to the line mentioned above by Krohn.

In the event, Scientology obtained a still-controversial tax exemption from the IRS in 1993, after years of pressure, litigation, and intense harassment of individual IRS officials, some of whom found their dogs and cats dying in mysterious circumstances. The church seems to have lost interest in a putative national sales tax after it got its tax exemption from the IRS. Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige, declared that “the war is over” in a jubilant speech given to Scientologists on October 8, 1993.


CATS essentially withered after 1993, likely due to OSA withdrawing support. By 2005 CATS was virtually defunct; its website disappeared by the end of 2009. However, it had a legacy which persists to this day. CATS’ proposals were adopted by a conservative organization, Americans for Fair Taxation, which campaigned to promote a sales tax “without the taint of Scientologist involvement,” as Bruce puts it.

Americans for Fair Taxation hasn’t entirely escaped that taint: Steven L. Hayes of CATS is its current Chairman and President. As a committed Scientologist, Hubbard’s opposition to income taxes is almost certainly a motivating factor for Hayes.

The Scientologists’ proposal was rebranded the “FairTax” and was eventually adopted by prominent Republican politicians including John McCain and Fred Thompson. It’s now something of an perennial conservative proposal that keeps reappearing every few years.

— Chris Owen


Technology Cocktail

“The electrical field is paramount and monitors the actual physical structure of the body. Thus the body is not only influenced by the three minds, it is influenced as well by its own electrical field. An expert Scientologist can discover for the average person this field, and can bring about its adjustment, although this is very far from the primary purpose of the Scientologist.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1956


Derek Lambert and Karen de la Carriere





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 as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

— The Underground Bunker Podcast

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— SPECIAL: Your Proprietor’s updates on the Danny Masterson trial

[1] Sep 21 [2] Sep 28 [3] Oct 4 [4] Oct 10 [5] Oct 11: Day One [6] Oct 12: Day Two [7] Oct 13: Day Three [8] Oct 17: Day Four [9] Oct 18: Day Five [10] Oct 19: Day Six [11] Special interview with Chris Shelton, Oct 19 [12] Oct 20: Day Seven [13] Oct 21: Day Eight [14] First week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [15] Oct 24: Day Nine [16] Oct 25: Day Ten [17] Oct 27: Day Eleven [18] Oct 28: Day Twelve [19] Second week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [20] Halloween special [21] Nov 2: Day Thirteen [22] Nov 3: Day Fourteen [23] Nov 4: Day Fifteen [24] Third week in review [25] Nov 5, Saturday special [26] Nov 6, Sunday special [27] Nov 7, Day Sixteen [28] Lisa Marie Presley breaking news [29] Nov 8, Day Seventeen [30] Nov 9, Day Eighteen [31] Nov 10, Day Nineteen



Source Code

“The entirety of physics and the natural sciences pursues from a degradation of the mind. Awfully broad statement, but a very true one. If every place you’ve ever been is related to where you are, you’ve had it. It says at once you never could have had, and promises that you never can have, another universe — which I think is very cute; it’s a total trap.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 29, 1957


Avast, Ye Mateys

“All semblance of anything that could be called ‘Hippiness’ must be eradicated for the next month. Better get started now on haircuts and beard off or trim. Be sure you haven’t only got miniskirts. The PRO mock up for your next month is very proper personal appearance. Clean cloths, clean braid, clean shirts for the officers. Lots of baths. Sleek personal appearance is the watch word for the next month. It fits in with why you are going on this cruise.” — The Commodore, January 29, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“My life has transformed in just a year. I used to be timid, shy, scared to talk to people, and now I have a YouTube channel. I used to have anxiety and depression until I learned about suppressive people and environments. I used to struggle with decisions and often made poor ones because up until I was Clear, I made decisions based on reactivity instead of logic. I can go on and on but if you’re really interested in improving your life, take it from someone who used to try every other thing before Scientology: I was a Christian, I was meditating, I did yoga, I practiced CBT and DBT, affirmations, you name it, but Scientology IS the only thing that has lasting effects.”


Past is Prologue


2001: Battlefield Earth has been nominated for the Razzie awards, given to the worst films of the year. From UPI: “The infamous Golden Raspberry Award Foundation struck again this week with nomination ballots for the 21st annual Razzie awards, the least sought-after trophies in show business. The awards spoof the sanctified Academy Awards, which take no notice of the Razzies. It matters not to Razzie officials whether a film is a hit, nor does the popularity of stars make a difference. If the membership deems the work awful, disgusting, untenable or obnoxious, it rewards the effort with a Razzie. This year’s suggested nominees: Any two actors in Blair Witch 2. Patricia Arquette and Adam Sandler (Little Nicky). Joan Collins and Harvey Korman (The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas). Richard Gere and Winona Ryder (Autumn in New York). Any two Pokemon (Pokemon 2000). Madonna and either Rupert Everett or Benjamin Bratt (The Next Best Thing). Tom Cruise and Thandie Newton (Mission: Impossible 2). Ah-nold as the real Adam Gibson, and Ah-nold as the clone of Adam Gibson in (The 6th Day). And finally, John Travolta and any one sharing the screen with him in Battlefield Earth.”


Random Howdy

“Does anyone else here understand how hard it is to explain to a complete stranger that your relative is a Scientologist?”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Retrial scheduled, jury selection begins March 29.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Next pretrial hearing date is February 23.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff scheduled to time served with three years supervised release, restitution of $9.7 million.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial hearing December 9.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2. Hearing November 17 to argue the arbitration motions, awaiting ruling.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place at least through February 7.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Case settled ahead of scheduled Dec 6 trial.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



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] He shilled for Scientology’s Covid ‘Stay Well’ program — and now he’s dead of the disease
[TWO years ago] Scientology anti-masker Leigh Dundas absconds to Mexico, Jan 6 video of her turns up
[THREE years ago] Tom Cruise’s sister Cass the real superhero in the family, now with Scientology SUPER POWER
[FOUR years ago] Accused rapist Danny Masterson hangs out with pal Ashton Kutcher at Scientology wedding
[FIVE years ago] Joy Villa’s ex-manager on the ‘pro-life’ Grammys dress: We’re not fooled this time
[SIX years ago] Scientology recruits a new ally — a real life ‘Forrest Gump’
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology puts out a new ‘media guide’ that is as honest as you would imagine
[EIGHT years ago] How Scientologists are dealing with the buzz around Alex Gibney’s ‘Going Clear’
[NINE years ago] The best parts of Steven Mango’s ‘documentary’ on Scientology’s Celebrity Centre
[TEN years ago] Mike Rinder on “The Hole” and How He Escaped Scientology
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: May the Force Be With You!


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 2,924 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,429 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,979 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,969 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,860 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,164 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,035 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,140 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,613 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,929 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,495 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,414 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,582 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,163 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,424 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,461 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,176 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,740 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,055 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,230 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,781 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,912 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,250 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,105 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,224 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,580 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,883 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,989 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,387 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,263 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,846 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,341 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,595 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,704 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 29, 2023 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email