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Romney Signs Anti-Porn Pledge, Ignores Demand To Return Contribution From ‘Hardcore’ Pornographer

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"Romney Signs Anti-Porn Pledge, Ignores Demand To Return Contribution From ‘Hardcore’ Pornographer"

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Last month, three of the four current Republican presidential contenders responded to a survey from the group Morality in Media’s War on Illegal Pornography campaign. They all agreed to get aggressive with violators of federal obscenity laws if elected president. Mitt Romney specifically said he would be for “strict enforcement of our nation’s obscenity laws, as well as the promotion of parental software controls that guard our children from Internet pornography.”

But campaign filings show that, last September, Romney accepted the maximum campaign contribution of $2,500 from Daniel Staton, the chairman of Friend Finder Networks Inc. that owns —among several other properties — Penthouse, BDSM sites like Bondage.com and BDSM.com, and LikeMyNudePhoto.com. Romney also accepted $2,000 from Staton and an additional $2,300 from Friend Finder Network CEO Marc Bell during his failed 2008 presidential campaign.

Of course, Penthouse and the handful of similar companies overseen by Staton are top targets of the War on Illegal Pornography campaign, and would suffer dramatically under the “strict enforcement of our nation’s obscenity laws” that Romney promised to uphold.

In a statement issued to ThinkProgress, Patrick Trueman, the President and CEO of Morality in the Media, said Romney should return the contributions from Staton:

While Governor Romney cannot police all activities of his donors to determine whether to accept or reject donations, he would do well to return contributions from those like Daniel Staton who are know [sic] to own obscene or hardcore pornography websites once such contributions are called to his attention. We have no reason to disbelieve Mr. Romney regarding his pledge.

Trueman told us that he hopes “to be in touch with [Romney's] campaign over the next week or two and will raise” his concerns.

Morality in Media seeks to dramatically reduce the proliferation of pornography by demanding lawmakers uphold existing federal laws. In a post on their website, the campaign explains that “harm from adult pornography is at pandemic levels,” and claims that pornographic videos, magazines and websites are to blame for a significant number of broken marriages and leads to addiction among “many” children and adults.

As ThinkProgress and several others have reported, right-wing campaigns that call for the strict enforcement of existing obscenity laws aren’t so much looking to rein in the proliferation of pornography as they are seeking to ban it outright.

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