Pols profiting from porn

Watchdog group claims Upton, Brownback on the take

WASHINGTON — Several of the most vocal congressional critics of indecency have accepted political contributions from businesses that profit substantially from porn, a watchdog group has charged.

In a report released late last week , Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington documented contributions to, among others, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), both of whom have authored key anti-indecency legislation.

No actual makers of pornographic material contributed to the politicians. All money came from businesses that offer porn in addition to more family-oriented content or services. Among the contributors were cablers Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter, Adelphia and Cablevision; satcasters EchoStar and DirecTV; along with Marriott Intl. and Holiday Inn.

According to “Addicted to Porn: Members of Congress Accept Contributions from Porn Purveyors,” Upton received $56,000; Brownback received $17,000.

In an accompanying statement, Crew exec director Melanie Sloan said, “It is one thing to be silent on the issue and accept porn purveyors’ contributions. 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. ”

The report details contributions to 15 members of Congress who received an aggregate $433 million during the 2002 and 2004 election cycles.

However, Sloan reserved her sharpest comments for Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), labeling her “the biggest hypocrite of all for having written a letter to former Vice President Al Gore demanding that he return a contribution from an adult entertainment Web site and for sanctimoniously ranting at Viacom executives that they cared more about profits than morality.”

The report maintains that porn is an increasing source of profits for the media and hotel businesses. Cable and satellite TV’s highest profit margins come from adult programming, and pornographic movies available in rooms provides the hotel industry with one of its highest profit margins, the report said.

“Based on estimates provided by the hotel industry, at least half of all guests at hotels such as Marriott and Holiday Inn pay to view adult movies,” the report stated. “These orders result in approximately $190 million a year in sales.” Viewers spend nearly $1 billion a year for pay channel or on-demand porn, the report added.

Upton declined to comment on the report. Calls to Wilson and Brownback seeking comment were not returned.

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