LOS ANGELES — The Free Speech Coalition yesterday blasted the AIDS Healthcare Foundation over a complaint it filed with federal authorities relative to a payment made to settle illegal campaign contributions.
Earlier this week, the AHF filed a complaint with the California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) in regards to the payment of a $61,500 fine, which was made by adult entertainment conglomerate MindGeek, a company that has offices worldwide in Los Angeles, Montreal, Cyprus and other locations.
The nonprofit AHF, which also sent out a press release, said that MindGeek's check endorsement regarding the payment was "illegal" because it came from a foreign company.
Eric Paul Leue, the newly appointed Free Speech Coalition executive director, however, told XBIZ last night, "there's absolutely no merit to AHF's latest complaint."
He also noted the complaint is "entirely political and not factual."
The fine targeted opponents of Los Angeles County’s Measure B — the No on Government Waste, No on Measure B campaign that was fighting off the Los Angeles County ballot measure that requires talent to wear condoms during sex scenes.
The AHF this week in a formal complaint said the payment was made with “yet another illegal foreign campaign contribution” from MindGeek. AHF was the principal backer of Measure B, which passed in November 2012 with 57 percent of the vote.
The payment was based on violations identified by the FPPC over unlawful contributions from foreign principals in connection with a local ballot measure, failure to comply with ballot measure committee name requirements regarding disclosure of the economic interest of major donors of $50,000 or more and campaign reporting violations.
In particular, the commission said that in October 2012 former FSC CEO Diane Duke and the No on B committee filed a pre-election campaign statement that failed to report that MindGeek’s Froytal division was the true source of a $75,000 contribution.
Froytal at the time was based in Nicosia, Cyprus, but, according to the commission, Duke and the No on B committee reported that MindGeek U.S. division was the true source of the contribution.
“Effectively, MindGeek used foreign funds to absolve itself and its agents — i.e., Diane Duke and the FSC’s ‘No on Government Waste, No on Measure B’ committee — from their violations of illegally injecting foreign money into our political system in 2012 with another illegal foreign campaign contribution,” said Michael Weinstein, president of the AHF and one of the five named proponents of Measure B, in the press release.
“There is little difference between MindGeek’s actions and a convicted embezzler who uses embezzled funds to pay off a fine for embezzlement.”
Leue, the FSC executive director, however, said that any contributions in relation to the payment of civil penalties were made in accordance with the rules set forth by the California FPPC last year.
"This complaint's intended effect is entirely political and not factual," Leue said. "The FPPC will dismiss it quickly."