Scientology Spends Heavily on Fund-Raisers
Date: October 23, 1999
Finances: Documents reveal modest salaries for leaders but big commissions for those who raise money.
The Church of Scientology, which recently won a decades-long drive for federal tax exemption, counts assets of about $400 million and appears to take in nearly $300 million a year from counseling fees, book sales, investments and other sources, according to documents filed with the IRS.
When asked whether the IRS verified the salaries or other figures, IRS spokesman Frank Keith called the salary information provided by the church "sufficient" for determining that "there were no issues of inurement that could have prevented" approval of the exemption. Inurement, or private enrichment, is barred under the tax law governing religious and other charitable organizations.
Although leaders did not appear to make large salaries, some had relatives on the Scientology payroll. For example, in addition to his wife, [David Miscavige]'s father, stepmother, brother and sister-in-law are employed by the church. Also, his mother, two brothers-in-law and two sisters, though not employed by the church, earned commissions as fund-raisers.