For years, many people have criticized the Church of Scientology for its principles and practices. However, as it turns out, several politicians have ties to the controversial religion. Ahead is a list of politicians you might not know have a close connection to Scientology.
Former Rep. Ben Gilman, R-N.Y., reportedly received thousands of dollars in donations from the church while he was serving in Congress. Gilman served from 1973 to 2003. During that time, he stood up for Scientologists facing discrimination in Europe. Primarily, Gilman stood up to pressures from the German government when Germany was allegedly discriminating against the religion. So Gilman was known as a friend of the church. And Scientologists mourned when he died in 2016.
Next: This California representative claims his district is the reason he supports Scientology.
When the Church of Scientology revealed its new religious center near the White House, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., was there to welcome the church’s newest location. Although Sherman claims he is not a Scientologist, he supports the religion because his California district has many Scientologists. Sherman got caught in a controversy when his Wikipedia page got trolled by someone who kept switching his religion to Scientology.
Next: This Florida Republican was honored at a Scientology gala.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., is another one of Scientology’s closest friends in Washington. Ros-Lehtinen was honored at Scientology’s 2004 Celebrity Centre Gala, according to Salon. Sherman was also honored. Prominent members of the church tend to be the ones to donate to politicians like Ros-Lehtinen because the church technically can’t. (It is a tax-exempt, religious organization.)
Next: This California judge accepted donations from wealthy Scientologists.
James E. Rogan
James Rogan is a judge who sits on the California Supreme Court. Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated him in 2006. Prior to that, Rogan received thousands of dollars from wealthy Scientologists throughout the 1990s. At the time of the donations, Rogan served in the House of Representatives (1997 to 2001) as a representative of California.
Next: This Fox News anchor is married to a devout Scientologist.
Greta Van Susteren
Greta Van Susteren is a Fox News anchor and conservative political commentator. Her husband, a prominent lawyer, is a well-known Scientologist. Van Susteren told People in the 1990s that she is a “strong advocate of their ethics.” By the late 1990s, Van Susteren and her husband had already given more than $100,000 to Scientology. She also owns a home in Clearwater, Florida, Scientology’s spiritual headquarters.
Next: This former governor is very close to Van Susteren and her husband.
Sarah Palin, 2008 vice presidential candidate and former governor of Alaska, is friends with Van Susteren and her husband, John Coale. Although Palin is not a Scientologist, she reportedly received advice from Coale about running in the 2012 presidential election. Van Susteren said in a blog post her husband enjoys seeing women succeed in politics. And she said his help had nothing to do with Scientology.
Next: These additional politicians received donations from the church.
These politicians received donations from the church’s PAC
The church has not donated money directly to politicians in quite a few years. But at one point, it had a semi-open PAC called Citizens for Social Reform. The following is a list of politicians who received donations from the PAC in 2004:
- Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill.
- Dylan Glenn, R-Ga.
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.
- Brad Sherman, D-Calif.
- John Shimkus, R-Ill.
- John Sweeney, R-N.Y.
- Diane Watson, D-Calif.
- Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
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