Is This the Deal Breaker? AHF Charges Porn Industry with Money Laundering; Press Conference This Morning

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LOS ANGELES — 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.

It will 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.

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:

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