LOS ANGELES — AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein on Tuesday called on for the No on Measure B campaign to give back a $150,000 donation from Manwin, saying the contribution by the adult entertainment conglomerate was a violation of federal election laws.
Weinstein not only called for a return of the funds, but he also announced that the AHF had filed a formal complaint on Monday with the Federal Election Commission over an alleged violation of the prohibition against contributions from foreign nationals.
Weinstein, at a press conference Tuesday, said that the $150,000 is significant for No on Measure B because it represents about half of all donations the group has received.
"We are concerned about foreign entities dumping a ton of money in the last few days of this campaign buying this election with foreign funds," Weinstein said on Tuesday. "We are calling on No on Measure B to give back this tainted money and not use it and not put a possible asterisk over the outcome of the election."
Shortly after the press conference, No on Measure B (No on Government Waste Committee) called Weinstein's claims“baseless” and “idiotic” and a "shallow attempt to divert attention from the overwhelming community support building against Measure B."
“Once again, AHF has ably demonstrated they have no idea what they are talking about with this ridiculous allegation,” said James Lee, communications director for the No on Measure B campaign. “They know the polling as well as we do as voter sentiment throughout the county has turned against them and against Measure B and now they are trying desperately to do anything to save what is arguably the dumbest initiative ever to make a ballot.”
In the beginning of the campaign, Lee said, a clerical error resulted in a contribution being misidentified as coming from Froytal Services Ltd., when in fact it came from Manwin, USA, a U.S.-based firm registered in Delaware.
Manwin is based in Luxembourg but has offices in Los Angeles, Montreal and Hamburg.
"The error was corrected and all campaign disclosures were updated," Lee said. "Federal and state election law clearly allows for contributions from overseas corporate entities so long as it comes from a subsidiary based and registered in the U.S.
"As an example, both the Romney and Obama presidential campaigns and related Super PACS have taken in hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions from U.S.-based subsidiaries of foreign companies."
Measure B, funded and placed on the ballot by the AHF, would require the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to license and permit adult movie productions in the county and require performers to wear condoms and is likely to create an unworkable system of on-set inspections and enforcement by county personnel.