Karen Bass says it's 'ridiculous' for Rick Caruso to associate her with Church of Scientology

Bass has said she wasn't aware of the dark cloud over scientology in 2010 and would not have given that speech if she had been.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso's campaign has released a new ad called "Church of Karen" that takes a speech his main opponent, Congresswoman Karen Bass, gave back in 2010 at a Church of Scientology event and cuts it up with negative headlines about the controversial church.

"This day and this new Church of Scientology is an exciting moment because I know your goal and your commitment is truly to make a difference," Bass said during the speech, which is featured in the ad.

Bass has said she wasn't aware of the dark cloud over Scientology back in 2010 and would not have given that speech if she had been.

The congresswoman spoke with Eyewitness News on Monday to explain this in an exclusive interview you'll only see here on ABC7.

"It's ridiculous to associate me with the Church of Scientology," she said. "I am a Baptist. My minister is Norman Johnson and I have never ever been affiliated with scientology and absolutely condemn their practices. That is very clear, but that's what I meant."

She continued by questioning her opponent's actions.

"The question is, how low will Rick Caruso go?" she asked. "Will he just continue spending money like this attacking me and hoping that he lowers my poll numbers? Or will he engage in what I believe voters really need to see, which is a dialogue and a debate and a discussion about the issues, and I don't believe he sees that as helpful to his campaign because I don't think he has serious answers for voters in Los Angeles."

The Los Angeles mayor's race is turning uglier by the day, highlighted by scandals at the University of Southern California, and whether Caruso really supports reproductive rights, which he has said he does.

Plus, there's the recent burglary at Bass's home in which two guns were stolen and two people were arrested.

Caruso continues to believe Bass is hiding something, which he told Eyewitness News during an interview last week.

"Why doesn't she tell us what kind of guns they were?" he said. "We got two more guns on the street now. We have the highest level of gun violence. Why doesn't she show us the box that they were kept in? She says it was pursuant to L.A. city law, well, prove it. You've got an obligation. You're running for mayor."

Bass responded by saying, "Maybe he thinks I orchestrated the burglary myself."

"I mean, that's what I mean by going low," she continued. "It's actually at this point, embarrassing and that's why I thought it was disheartening. I think that Caruso knows better than this, and to be someone who had my house robbed and to have my opponent turn it on me as though I am the criminal, is kind of pathetic."