The money shots

Congress' anti-porn crusaders take the low road; a new report exposes the dirty funding of the "skin caucus"

By Mark Follman
Published March 11, 2005 7:24PM (EST)

Moral authority, indeed. Turns out a number of Congress' top anti-porn crusaders have been filling their own coffers with a good bit of dirty money. A report out from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has the down and dirty on 15 offenders, all of whom profess to revile pornography -- and who have accepted campaign contributions from corporations and executives who profit handsomely from porn sales.

"It is one thing to be silent on the issue and accept porn purveyors' contributions," said executive director Melanie Sloan in a statement. "However, these members of Congress attempt to slap pornographers with fines and legislative restrictions with one hand and turn around and accept porn profits with the other. Our report details the hypocrisy of this 'skin caucus.'"

So who all's on the hot list? Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, who "equates pornography with crack cocaine," has accepted $17,000, according to the report.

Also among the perps is Connecticut's good old Joe Lieberman, who has long aligned himself with the righteous political right in America's culture wars. Side by side with renown gambling addict William Bennet, the senior Democratic senator handed out "Silver Sewer" awards to the makers of "immoral" videos, and has criticized MTV for hosting porn stars on the air -- and, according to the report, has pocketed more than $16,000 from the porn peddlers.

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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