Porn Biz Slapped With Fine Over Foreign Political Influence

Porn Biz Slapped With Fine Over Foreign Political Influence
File photo by Star Foreman/L.A. Weekly

The porn industry said it was all good: More than $260,000 in contributions came from the porn-tube juggernaut Manwin and related companies.

The money would support the No on Measure B campaign, which fought unsuccessfully against the 2012 ballot initiative that now mandates condom use for adult video performers on the job in Los Angeles County.

But the measure's author, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, filed federal and state complaints alleging that Froytal Services Ltd., a Manwin-related entity based in Nicosia, Cyprus, was behind the lion's share of contributions to the opposition.

The No on Measure B campaign argued that this was simply a matter of a "clerical error." The "perfectly legal" contributions "came from Manwin, USA, a U.S.-based firm registered in Delaware," it said in 2012.

Diane Duke, CEO of the adult industry trade group known as the Free Speech Coalition, originally called the state complaint "baseless."

Indeed, Manwin (which was later reportedly folded into MindGeek) had a substantial presence in the porn capital of the world, the San Fernando Valley, with offices in Burbank. AHF's complaint was narrowly rejected by the Federal Elections Commission.

But the state Fair Political Practices Commission wasn't buying the local angle.

This week it was revealed that the porn industry is facing more than $60,000 in fines as a result of the foreign influence. 

Just a week ago it was reported that industry chief Duke, who also headed the No on Measure B campaign, was resigning from FSC, the trade group.

State officials will likely finalize a $61,500 fine against Duke and the no camp during a Dec. 17 FPPC meeting. According to the commission, Duke, et al., have agreed to pay up.

State regulators stated that the No on Measure B camp falsely reported the "true source" of contributions, failed to file late contribution reports, and failed to "change the committee name and identify the committee with a name or phrase reflecting that the adult film industry was the source of major funding."

Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, called this "yet another confirmation of the complete lack of credibility of the entire adult film industry."

"The porn industry, its producers’ trade group, the Free Speech Coalition and [former] FSC head Diane Duke all share responsibility for shirking their duty to protect performers working in California’s adult film industry," he said. "Now, they also share culpability for taking illegal foreign money for their failed campaign against Measure B."

AHF is bringing its condoms-for-porn campaign to the state ballot next November.

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