According to administration official Lynne Patton, President Trump wants to revoke the tax exemption the Church of Scientology currently gets.
In a piece that was partially a hit-piece on the Trump administration, it contained information on the tax dealings of the powerful, influential Hollywood cult. The article in the Huffington Post contains information on a back and forth between Patton, a “loyal family aide” and Department of Housing and Urban Development official, and “King of Queens” star Leah Remini. Since leaving Scientology, Remini has worked hard to see this organization be taken down.
In an unsolicited Twitter message, Lynne Patton, who has worked for the Trump family since 2009, told actress Leah Remini of Trump’s position and said she would interface with the IRS directly to seek more information in an effort to initiate revocation. Remini sent HuffPost copies of Patton’s messages and has declined to comment further.
It’s not clear if Patton ever communicated with the IRS. But if Trump did express an opinion on the church and Patton did contact the IRS about it, as her message suggests, that would be a highly inappropriate level of interference with the IRS by the administration, one expert said.
There was a series of messages between Patton and Remini started started in late May. The administration official told the “King of Queens” star she was deeply moved by her A&E documentary series which uncovered the negatives of Scientology. Remini was involved with the church for many years before leaving in 2013.
Per Daily Wire:
HuffPost reports that Patton first reached out to Remini, with the actress responding, “Hi Lynne would love any help you can give.”
“From The moment I saw your series I told President Trump & his family we needed to revoke their tax exempt status. They couldn’t agree more, but please don’t publicize that yet,” wrote Patton. “I want to do more due diligence on what the IRS has attempted in the past (or maybe you can enlighten me), then I’ll identify who we need to connect with again.”
Patton followed up her message with a promise that she will “die trying” to get the tax exempt status of the organization revoked: “This is going to get done in the next 4 years or I’ll die trying. Knock on wood!”
The next day Patton responded to Remini’s email offering help by saying she needs to do some more research into Scientology’s history with the IRS but was committed to ending “this ongoing nightmare and blatant misuse of our IRS rules & regulations”:
I look forward to doing my part to help put an end to this ongoing nightmare and blatant misuse of our IRS rules & regulations. … I want to do more research on Scientology’s history with the IRS, to date, so that I can better understand what tactics have been applied and where we can pick up. Would you have any of this information handy? If not, I will obtain it from the agency directly, Kindly advise!
In early June Patton sent an email to Remini telling her to wait until “things calm down about [James] Comey, etc.” Before the tax exemption issue could be addressed.
“Months later, Patton would be photographed publicly with a Scientologist who has quickly risen up the ranks in Trump world,” The Huffington Post notes.
It’s been a long battle for the Church of Scientology to obtain and keep their tax-exempt status. They obtained it in the late 1950s and lost it about a decade later then finally getting it back to decades after that. The tax-exempt status allows the organization to gather more and more wealth and power while keeping itself from public scrutiny.