Politics

Church of Scientology Lobbied Hillary’s State Department

The Church of Scientology started a big-money lobbying relationship with the U.S. State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

Greg Mitchell, proprietor of The Mitchell Firm, is Scientology’s official Washington lobbyist. A church member, Mitchell works to help the church gain mainstream credibility and to lobby on behalf of issues the church cares about, like criminal justice reform and religious freedom in foreign countries.

Mitchell features a photograph on his firm’s website that shows him posing with Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The Mitchell Firm

Church of Scientology International spent $80,000 over three quarters to have Mitchell lobby the State Department in 2011, during Clinton’s tenure as the head of the agency. The church had never lobbied the State Department before the second quarter of that year.

The church’s lobbying continued in 2012, as it spent a total of $80,000 ($20,000 per quarter) to lobby Clinton’s State Department.

Scientology lobbied for religious freedom issues, opposing efforts by foreign governments to stifle minority religions like Scientology.

Mitchell fought against a new religion law in Hungary that legally de-registers minority religions in the country, and “urged the Secretary to raise this issue with the Hungarian Prime Minister and with leaders of the Hungarian Parliament,” according to lobbying disclosure forms.

Mitchell also circulated a letter to the secretary of state and others “to express our deep concern about rising government restrictions on religion in France” and to fight a religious extremism law in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, among other similar issues.

Scientology continued to lobby John Kerry’s State Department in each quarter of 2013 and 2014 after Clinton left office.

Scientology’s links to the Clintons predate Hillary’s term at the State Department.

The Clinton administration’s Internal Revenue Service granted Scientology its status as a tax-exempt church within Clinton’s first year in office in 1993.

Actor and Scientologist Tom Cruise personally called Bill Clinton to get him to influence his friend, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to help Scientology’s charity status in Great Britain, according to former Scientology executive Marty Rathbun.

Actor and Scientologist John Travolta once received “an unsolicited offer of presidential help” from Clinton as Scientology fought the German government on issues of religious persecution, according to The Los Angeles Times. Clinton administration national security advisor Sandy Berger personally talked to Travolta about the issue and the administration’s efforts to resolve it.

As TheDC reported, Mitchell also lobbied President Obama’s White House four times during Obama’s first term, in 2009 and 2012.

The State Department and the Church of Scientology did not return requests for comment by press time.

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