Senate Candidate David Jolly Didn't Want You to Know About His Scientology Ties

Senate Candidate David Jolly Didn't Want You to Know About His Scientology TiesEXPAND
Image by U.S. House/ WikiCommons

Back in 2003, photographer Kenneth Adelman was working on a project that documented the coastline of California, which includes the cliffs of Malibu, which happens to include the home of Barbara Streisand. Adelman posted his photos online, and, well, not many people actually bothered to pay attention to the project. Except, oddly, Streisand herself. She sued Adelman for invasion of privacy. Of course, the lawsuit made headlines, and hundreds of thousands of people ended up seeking out the photo. 

The point is, if you're trying to hide something from the public, don't let the public know you're trying to hide it. The resulting pique in interest has come to be known as "The Streisand Effect." 

Apparently no one on Rep. David Jolly's U.S. Senate campaign staff was aware of this particular reality. They also didn't seem to know that a certain segment of the press keeps a keen eye on edits to the Wikipedia pages of members of Congress. 

Jolly's Wikipedia page included information related to his support for same-sex marriage (still rare among Republicans with aspirations for higher office), his work as a lobbyist, his divorce, past contributions to Democratic candidates, and, most oddly, his connections to the Church of Scientology. 

A Wikipedia user dubbed "Bascomcomm” decided to scrub all of that and replace it with information more palatable to a conservative audience. 

Jolly is running in the crowded Senate primary against several candidates who find themselves more firmly to the right of the relatively moderate Jolly. 

However, it turns out that a Sarah Boscom is both Jolly's campaign spokeswoman and president of the Bascom Communications & Consulting firm. 

When confronted by BuzzFeed News, Bascom admitted that the Wikipedia edits came from within the campaign. She claimed that an opposing campaign had edited the page to include the information, though BuzzFeed notes that many of the passages that were erased had been there for more than a year. 

It's not exactly a secret that Jolly is a moderate. He's taken to the U.S. House floor to strongly denounce the rhetoric of Donald Trump after all. Perhaps his connections to Scientology weren't quite as well known, though. 

The church's Clearwater headquarters are within Jolly's current congressional district. Jolly has attended some fundraisers held by the controversial church. 

Though, Jolly isn't the only Florida Republican with connections to the Xenu-worshipping organization. Miami-area Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also has documented connections to the church. Though, she's not running for Senate, and she didn't get caught scrubbing it from her Wikipedia page. 

The resulting controversy, of course, has lead to several headlines and tweets linking Jolly to Scientology, and now more people probably know about the history than those who were browsing over his Wikipedia page. 

Then again, Scientology ties aren't the worst thing in Jolly's past. 

As a 16-year-old driver, he hit and killed a man who was standing on the side of a road with a broken down motorcycle

That information wasn't publicly known until just weeks before his original election to Congress, and he still won. 

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