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Scientology took 80 loans from the government during the coronavirus pandemic

The loans totaled over $6 million.

 

Eric Levai

Tech

Published Feb 2, 2021   Updated Feb 2, 2021, 1:31 pm CST

The Church of Scientology—a religion and network of multi-million-dollar entities that includes religious institutions and various businesses worth an estimated $2 billion—received 80 pandemic disaster loans from the U.S. government totaling $6,413,740, according to a Daily Dot investigation.

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Scientology churches collected $1,420,000 through 36 separate loans. Other major Scientology-affiliated businesses that received bailout loans include Narconon, a controversial rehab facility, which got $1,680,000 in 17 separate pandemic loans.

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Delphi Schools, Scientology-operated private schools, got $1,730,047 in six separate loans. Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a group which states a goal of, “eradicating abuses committed under the guise of mental health”—but which critics say attacks the psychiatry profession—received $370,225 from five separate loans.

Applied Scholastics, a Scientology educational program, got $170,261 in four loans.

Foundation For Advancements In Science and Education (FASE), another Scientology education program, got $217,543 in three separate loans.

Previously, the Daily Dot exclusively reported that Scientology received 30 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans designed for small business relief, but new data released about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program led to the discovery of 50 additional EIDL loans totaling $1,585,101, increasing Scientology’s windfall to over $6 million.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) included multiple programs to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPP is better known, but far more Economic Injury Disaster Loans were actually issued to American businesses. 

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Multiple Scientology-operated and affiliated businesses received both PPP loans and EIDL loans, which is legal. However, the numbers appear to show several churches received more than one EIDL loan. 

There is a possibility that those churches applied to multiple lenders and only received one loan. There is also the possibility that loans reported as “EIDL” are actually, “EIDL Advance” grants, a different program.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans are designed to cover all business expenses besides employee payroll, which is covered by the PPP. Though EIDL loans feature 30-year terms and low interest, they must be repaid to the lender.

Advance grants are separate and provide up to $10,000 in funds that do not have to be repaid. It is legal to receive both EIDL Advance grants and EIDL loans.

Because of the lack of transparency involving the programs, it is impossible to tell exactly what loans Scientology received.

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In an email response to the Daily Dot, Andrea Roebker, a spokesperson for the Small Business Administration, advised, “The SBA does not comment on individual borrowers.”

Church of Scientology spokesperson Karin Pouw said in a statement to the Daily Dot, “A handful of individual Churches of Scientology applied for and received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to assist them during the pandemic.”

They said the same applies for the EIDL program.


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The Church noted that “Each Church or Mission of Scientology in the U.S. is a separately incorporated entity, and each was financially impacted differently by the pandemic.”

However, Scientology is known to be litigious with and attempts to shut down businesses that promote Scientology but are not actively approved of by the Church itself.

The Scientology Money Project reported last December that one Scientology church, in Los Feliz, California, was boarded up through 2020. It received $92,855 in pandemic relief.

Numerous multi-billion dollar companies received PPP loans, despite the fact that they were intended for small businesses.

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To see a full list of loans Scientology received, click here. It is also embedded below. 

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*First Published: Feb 2, 2021, 7:00 am CST