$75,000 contribution from Manwin USA, a Luxembourg-based porn company, to the opposition campaign of a Los Angeles County ballot measure on condoms in porn prompts AHF to file a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging violation of the prohibition against contributions from foreign nationals; Latest amended campaign finance reports filed Friday October 26 show additional donation from Manwin as well as a name change for the source of the original $75K donation from Manwin to Froytal Services LTD, another Manwin-controlled entity based in Nicosia, Cyprus
Measure B, formally known as the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, will require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the County, follow all health and safety laws, including condom use, and pay a permit fee to cover enforcement costs
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the primary backer of the so-called condoms in porn ballot measure on the November 6th election ballot in Los Angeles County, will host a PRESS TELECONFERENCE Tuesday, October 30th at 10:00am Pacific Time to discuss its filing Monday of a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) over violation of the prohibition against contributions from foreign nationals in the heated campaign for Ballot Measure B, the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act.
WHAT: Press TELECONFERENCE—Complaint on porn campaign foreign money laundering filed
AHF files FEC complaint over violation of the prohibition against contributions from foreign
nationals to U.S. election; in latest campaign finance filing, suspected donor company,
Manwin USA, amends donor name to Froytal Services LTD, a Manwin-controlled entity
based in Nicosia, Cyprus
WHEN: TUESDAY, October 30th 2012—-10:00 AM Pacific
Teleconference Dial in information: +1.877.411.9748 participant code #7134323
Contact: Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications (323) 791-5526 mobile
An initial $75,000 contribution (the largest single donation to the opposition campaign) came from Manwin USA, a Luxembourg-based porn conglomerate with offices in several countries including the U.S. That donation, dated September 13, 2012, prompted AHF and other supporters of the ’Yes on B’ campaign to look into the source of the funds. The murky origin of the funds raised serious questions about money from a foreign porn cartel being directed to an election campaign in the United States—an illegal act that constitutes a felony.
According to its website, “Manwin is an international information technology firm, specializing in highly trafficked websites. The company creates, develops and manages some of the most recognized mainstream and adult entertainment brands in the world…Headquartered in Luxembourg with management offices in Hamburg, London, Los Angeles, Nicosia, and Montreal, the company employs over 900 people.”
After closely examining the initial ‘Recipient Committee Campaign Statement,’ the legally required campaign finance report covering campaign donations and expenditures through September 30, 2012 that was filed in early October with the Office of the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder/County Clerk and after doing additional background research on Manwin, AHF’s campaign attorneys drafted a formal complaint to the FEC. The complaint was filed with the FEC Monday, October 29 (via FedEx letter) alleging violation of the prohibition against campaign contributions from foreign nationals.
In the opponents’ initial filing, a $75,000 donation from Manwin USA appeared; however, the latest campaign finance reports (filed Friday October 26 ) from the ‘No on Government Waste, No on Measure B, Major Funding by Manwin USA’ committee reflect a name change of the initial Manwin donor for the $75K from Manwin USA to Froytal Services LTD, another Manwin-controlled entity based in Nicosia, Cyprus (Pre-election Statement, Amendment, page 5 of 12, second entry).
An additional ‘Recipient Committee Campaign Statement’ report filed Friday October 26 covers specific campaign donations and expenditures from October 1 through October 20, 2012 as well as year-to-date totals. Interestingly, this latest report reflects an additional $150,000 donation to the ‘No on B’ campaign from Manwin USA (page 4 of 11, second entry) as well as a payment of $75,000 to the Cyprus-based Froytal Services LTD.
“From our reading of these campaign finance filings and our own additional research, it appears that this money from Manwin is quite likely an illegal campaign contribution from a foreign entity and foreign nationals and as such, we filed a formal complaint earlier today with the Federal Election Commission,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and one of the five named proponents of the ballot initiative. “It’s worth noting that after we spoke out about the questionable source of Manwin’s initial $75,000 donation in early October, the ‘No’ campaign amended its latest campaign finance filings on Friday in order to do what looks like a shell game—shuffling money around, or at least the reported source of the money. First it was $75K from Manwin. Then, a quick switch of the name of the donor from Manwin to the Cyprus-based Froytal Services LTD. Next, an additional $150K from Manwin was donated to the ‘No’ campaign on October 16; finally, the campaign also then paid $75K out to Froytal. This back and forth simply does not pass the sniff test and we urge investigators at the FEC to thoroughly investigate this matter.”
Campaign finance law also requires that for the election to be held on November 6th, any contribution (to either side) for $1,000 or more made after October 20th must be reported in a ‘Late Contribution Report’ filed the following day with the Office of the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder/County Clerk. Following are links to three reports of such late breaking donations to the ‘No on Measure B’ campaign:
Background on Ballot Measure B
Ballot Measure B is formally known as the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act. The measure will require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the County, follow all health and safety laws, including condom use, and pay a permit fee to cover enforcement of the law. Major funding in support of the measure is being provided by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which drafted the ballot language and introduced the measure, and has been securing support and endorsements for the ‘Yes on B’ campaign from medical and health groups like the L.A. County Medical Association and the California STD Controllers Association, as well as an editorial endorsement in support of Measure B from La Opinión, the largest Spanish language newspaper in the United States and second-most read paper in Los Angeles. Opposition to the measure comes primarily from pornographers.
Ballot Measure B came about after as many as 22 HIV infections believed to be industry-related were reported in several outbreaks in Los Angeles since 2004, and amidst thousands of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occurring annually among adult performers. The ballot measure also comes at a time when an outbreak of syphilis, a highly contagious but curable STD, is roiling L.A.’s adult film industry and shut down the entire industry for several weeks earlier this summer.
Health Associations Supporting Condom Use in Adult Films
The Los Angeles County Medical Association (LACMA) and The California STD Controllers Association (CSTDCA) are two major health groups that specifically endorsed Los Angeles County Ballot Measure B. However, the Executive Board of CSTDCA, and several other groups and associations previously expressed support for condom use in adult films. These include the American Medical Association, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, American Public Health Association, American Association of STD Controllers, American Public Health Association, the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV and UCLA. These groups called for improved adult film worker safety and enforcement of condom use requirements in adult films.
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 183,000 individuals in 27 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.