Author Topic: An FTC investigation of Scientology around 1990? What was the outcome?  (Read 4275 times)

Offline ethercat

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In a letter from William B. Svoboda, M.D. to Bob Lobsinger of the Newkirk Herald Journal, during the Chilocco period, Dr, Svoboda says:

Quote from: William B. Svoboda, M.D.
I imagine you already know of and/or have seen the ads on TV (Fox Channel 4/24 of Wichita, et. al .) regarding the sponsorship of the Goodwill Games by Bridge Publications / Dianetics / Church of Scientology. These tend to be on late in the evenings. A group of us have been part of a letter writing campaign to CNN in protest. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission is looking into the relationship between Dianetics and the Church of Scientology regarding the accuracy of their advertising. The information gathered will be reviewed by a panel of FTC lawyers with Scientology having 30 days to respond. The three options, as I understand it, is (1) the advertising can continue unchanged, (2) the advertising must be modified in certain ways, or (3) the advertising is banned in all media with violation resulting in legal action by the FTC.

I'm wondering whatever became of that FTC investigation, since they are still advertising on television and now on the internet, and anywhere else they can think of, too.  I wonder if we could obtain the FTC's research through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request?

It could be useful to know, since some of us are telling Narconon's unhappy customers to report their experiences to the FTC.
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Offline BigBeard

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The main thing that came out of it was the sticker on the e-meter stating it's basically a "religious artifact", and doesn't actually do anything in and of itself. Of course the sticker isn't worded the way it's supposed to be, and ends up on the bottom of the e-meter instead of being in plain sight where it's supposed to be. Other than that, not so much.

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Offline ethercat

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I thought that was the FDA?
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Offline mefree

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Quote
I'm wondering whatever became of that FTC investigation, since they are still advertising on television and now on the internet, and anywhere else they can think of, too.  I wonder if we could obtain the FTC's research through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request?

It could be useful to know, since some of us are telling Narconon's unhappy customers to report their experiences to the FTC.

Good idea.
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama

Offline AnonLover

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I thought that was the FDA?

The e-meter was the FDA, this would be different. I pulled out Hugh Urban's book and checked the index thinking that if anybody went into detail on this, it would of been his book since he explored the cult's legal history in depth. But no such luck.

FWIW, the FTC also has a very good track record with honoring FOIA requests. They willingly release mountains of info on their website, way more than most agencies, which in turn cuts down on the number of request they get. But the online archive is typically from 1997 and later. And I've run various searches up there looking for info on Scientology since this thread got posted and found nothing.

So I'd say go for it - if there was never a federal case brought against Scientology under FTC laws (PACER is your friend there) stemming from the investigation in 1990, then those dox should be ripe for the plucking. And if the request is honored, there is a very good chance the dox they cough up will also get published on the FTC website since it appears that when they do process a FOIA request that they automatically kick it up to their electronic reading room.

Offline BigBeard

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Only thing I remember from the 90's was the FDA thing, and the Hernandez decision from SCOTUS the IRS essentially ignored when Cof$ put the screws to them.
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Offline ethercat

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FWIW, the FTC also has a very good track record with honoring FOIA requests. They willingly release mountains of info on their website, way more than most agencies, which in turn cuts down on the number of request they get. But the online archive is typically from 1997 and later. And I've run various searches up there looking for info on Scientology since this thread got posted and found nothing.

So I'd say go for it - if there was never a federal case brought against Scientology under FTC laws (PACER is your friend there) stemming from the investigation in 1990, then those dox should be ripe for the plucking. And if the request is honored, there is a very good chance the dox they cough up will also get published on the FTC website since it appears that when they do process a FOIA request that they automatically kick it up to their electronic reading room.

Thanks, AnonLover.   ;D
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Offline ethercat

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Hey, AnonLover!  Do you have any idea how long it typically takes to hear back from the FTC on  FOIA requests?
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Offline AnonLover

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Hey, AnonLover!  Do you have any idea how long it typically takes to hear back from the FTC on  FOIA requests?

Federal agencies operate on a 20-day initial response window, but in my experience with other stuff that typically means you get a quick initial response saying how long it will take to actually fill it under an extension. And those extensions vary between agencies with 10, 20 or 30 day intervals being the common ones.

See the FTC FOIA Handbook, starting on page 11 for more details:
http://www.ftc.gov/foia/foiahandbook.pdf

Offline ethercat

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Hey, AnonLover!  Do you have any idea how long it typically takes to hear back from the FTC on  FOIA requests?

Federal agencies operate on a 20-day initial response window, but in my experience with other stuff that typically means you get a quick initial response saying how long it will take to actually fill it under an extension. And those extensions vary between agencies with 10, 20 or 30 day intervals being the common ones.

See the FTC FOIA Handbook, starting on page 11 for more details:
http://www.ftc.gov/foia/foiahandbook.pdf

Thank you.   :)  This from the handbook is helpful:
Quote
VIII.
HOW THE FTC RESPONDS TO FOIA REQUESTS
A.
Response Time
We answer most requests within the statutory time limit of 20 working days following the receipt of a request, without need for a formal or informal extension. Although we do not always contact requesters when we first receive a request, we may contact you during the processing to ask questions or to give you a status report on the processing. You may check the status of your request by calling (202) 326-2430.
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Offline ethercat

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Just to follow up on this, the FTC sent me a letter back that they didn't have any documents that related to this.  So I don't know if Dr. Svoboda was mislead by the FTC, he was overly optimistic, or if the documents have been lost (or stolen).
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