My Esteemed Colleague from the Church of Scientology

My Esteemed Colleague from the Church of Scientology October 20, 2015

The Daily Beast has an article about Rep. David Jolly of Florida, who is a candidate to replace Marco Rubio in the Senate. He represents Clearwater, Florida, the home base for the “church” of Scientology and he has close ties to them (you don’t get elected from that area without the support of Scientologists). Those ties could cause real problems for him as he runs to represent the entire state.

The Church of Scientology may soon have a new ally in the U.S. Senate.

Republican congressman and 2016 Senate candidate David Jolly’s district includes the town of Clearwater, Florida, which is home to the Flag Service Organization, the “spiritual headquarters of Scientologists planetwide” and the organization’s “Mecca.” It is Scientology’s largest church, situated in a complex spread out over a “nine-mile grid” in the heart of downtown Clearwater.

Given the large footprint of the church in his district, Jolly’s ties with Scientologists may have paid dividends on the local level—but now that he’s running to represent the entire state of Florida, his connections with the controversial church may prove to be a liability. He’s received numerous donations from an infamous Scientologist doctor, attended rallies and fundraisers thrown by the church, and steadfastly refuses to distance himself from the group.

I can see it now, him telling other senators that he won’t support their legislation unless they first take an e-meter examination.

Jolly, the frontrunner for the GOP Senate nomination in Florida, was the “special guest” at a fundraiser for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in June 2014, which was organized by Scientologists.

He was also featured as the “guest of honor” at the Church of Scientology’s concert celebrating the centennial of Clearwater, Florida. The latter event was held at the Fort Harrison Hotel, which is owned by the church and used for “religious retreats,” and featured appearances by prominent Scientologists like actress Anne Archer…

And there are other links to Scientology in Jolly’s political orbit: The treasurer of his Leadership Political Action Committee, Nancy Watkins, is on the advisory board of Florida Citizens for Social Reform. The organization, according to the Tampa Bay Times, was “formed by local Scientologists [and] promotes drug treatment and education programs based on the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.” In a statement to The Daily Beast, Watkins denied being a Scientologist…

Jolly has also accepted several donations from Dr. David Minkoff, a doctor who was entangled in a Scientology scandal that involved the death of a 36-year-old woman.

I’m sure that sort of thing is effective in that congressional district, but a senate seat requires convincing the entire state to vote for you. That may prove tricky given those connections.

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