Dan Burton lobbying for Scientology group

Indy Star/October 20, 2015

By Maureen Groppe

A group co-founded by the Church of Scientology has sought former Rep. Dan Burton's help in lobbying Congress about certain psychiatric treatments.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights paid Burton $20,000 in the past three months, according to lobbying disclosure reports.

Burton, who retired from Congress in 2013, was paid to "maintain or increase protection for the public with reference to psychiatric treatments including drugs and brain devices," in a bill Congress is considering to speed the development of drugs.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights calls itself a "mental health watchdog" dedicated to "providing information that a multibillion-dollar psycho/pharmaceutical industry does not want people to see or to know."

Burton was often critical of the pharmaceutical industry when he served in Congress.

"I've gone to a number of these lectures that are put on by pharmaceutical companies," Burton said at a hearing he convened in 2002 on the "over-medication of hyperactive children."

"They're very nice dinners they put on and very expensive in many cases, have great wines and all those sorts of things — they do have doctors that come in and talk about the attributes and the positives about these drugs," he said. "So they are very effective in selling their products to the doctors and the doctors writing those prescriptions."

Burton invited Lisa-Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley and a spokeswoman for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, to testify at that hearing. She argued that Congress should prevent schools from “coercing parents into placing their children on to mind-altering drugs.”

Actress Diane Ladd testified at another hearing Burton held in support of alternative medicines.

Burton also tried to show, contrary to the findings of medical experts, that a vaccine preservative caused children to develop autism.

When the Church of Scientology opened a National Affairs Office in Washington in 2012, Burton was among the lawmakers at the opening ceremony, according to the organization's website.

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