Church of Scientology, worth billions, took at least 30 PPP loans

The religious organization obtained at least 30 loans.

Daily Dot/December 3, 2020

By Eric Leval

The Church of Scientology and businesses operated by Scientology have received at least 30 different Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans worth approximately $4 million, according to government PPP data released on Tuesday.

Eleven news organizations successfully convinced federal judge James Boasberg of the public interest in releasing the data this week.

As of this writing, the Daily Dot has identified 30 loans, while continuing to search under the names of many other Church of Scientology-operated companies.

Data initially released in July showed the Church of Scientology received three loans, but updated figures and disclosures of all loan amounts under $150,000 gave a clearer picture of Scientology’s windfall from the PPP program.

Science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology in 1953. Though legal battles with the IRS eventually resulted in the government declaring Scientology a tax-exempt religion, critics characterize it as a scam which makes adherents “pay their way” to attain spiritual freedom.

It had twice previously lost its tax-exempt status with the IRS. Though it’s free to receive government funds, the Church of Scientology has a fraught relationship with government finances, long refusing to pay taxes rumored to be over $1 billion, and attempting to infiltrate the IRS with spies. Members of the church went to prison for stealing documents from the government.

According to PPP data, Scientology churches in Washington, D.C.; New York City; Largo, Florida; Detroit; Los Angeles; Quincy, Massachusetts; St. Louis; Lake Forest, California; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Santa Rosa Bayamon, Puerto Rico; Chicago; Houston; Buffalo, New York; and Battle Creek, Michigan received approximately $1 million from 17 loans approved by different financial institutions.

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