The St. Petersburg Times in Florida has been running lots of hard-hitting stories about Scientology lately.

So guess what? They are in the midst of selling a magazine they own in Washington, D.C., called Governing, to e. Republic, a Scientology publisher located in Folsom, Calif. E.Republic has four publications including one called Government Technology.

And there’s more: On the website page for the story about the sale in today’s St. Petersburg Times there’s a video ad for… Scientology! A source familiar with the paper and its workings says Scientology paid $1 million for the ads on the paper’s website.

A 2001 Sacramento News & Review story from 2001 about e.Republic explains more about its history.

The story, by Jim Evans, recounts the history of e.Republic and its connections to Scientology. Evans writes: “All new hires at e.Republic, a publishing company based in Folsom, California, are required to not only read [a basic Scientology manual], but also take a course based on its contents, which — notwithstanding the grandiose description above — reads much like the same kind of hokey training materials that millions of workers try to avoid daily, except Hubbard’s methods have the higher goal of ‘improving conditions in your business, your life and on Earth in general.’”

What the heck is going on here? Are publishers so hard up for cash that they’ll take money from the subjects of their exposes? Calls to Andrew Corty of the St. Petersburg Times and Christopher Swope of Governing were not returned. But the strangeness of the situation cannot be overlooked. The Times has run several exposes about abuses in Scientology just this year.’ They can be found here.

More to come…

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