Hustler publisher Larry Flynt's controversial national campaign to expose political hypocrites in the on-going impeachment of President Bill Clinton might snag at least one powerful Southern California Republican, the Weekly has learned.
According to a source with knowledge of Flynt's months-long multimillion-dollar pay-for-dirt investigation, a ranking Republican lawmaker may be unwillingly outed for his homosexual dalliances when the porno company releases its skin-free Flynt Report next month.
The allegedly gay congressman-who has repeatedly voted on federal anti-gay legislation in sync with the likes of former Orange County Representatives William Dannemeyer and Robert K. Dornan-could not be reached for an interview by press time. His press secretary also refused comment.
The Weekly will not consider publishing the targeted congressman's name until after it reviews the evidence and relevance of Flynt's supposedly pending announcement.
David Buchbinder, a Hustler editor, declined to confirm specific details of their probe, saying only that "there is, of course, a chance" that the Flynt Report will include facts about the hypocritical sex life of at least one politician from the Los Angeles-Orange County area. Buchbinder said the report will contain graphic, convincing evidence.
Such a scenario can't be comforting to local Republicans, who are dominated by the Christian Coalition crowd. In addition to dismal election results in November, the party is also trying to forget numerous recent scandals. Former Congressman Michael Huffington-the Republican's nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1994-came out as a homosexual in this month's Esquire. In June, the Weekly disclosed that one of the largest contributors to supposedly anti-abortion Orange County Republicans (Curt Pringle, Scott Baugh, et al.) is one of the nation's most prolific abortion doctors, Dr. Edward Allred. And who could forget when the Los Angeles Times reported in 1997 that Dornan's former chief of staff and confidant, Brian Bennett, is gay?
Last fall, Flynt vowed to unmask politicians who publicly pose as morally superior to Clinton while hiding or lying about their own embarrassing sexual peccadilloes. He hired a few of the nation's best investigative reporters and promised to pay their sources up to $1 million for legitimate, verifiable information. Official Washington-particularly GOP headquarters-recoiled. Prior to Flynt's announcement, some of the president's most sanctimonious Republican critics (Representatives Dan Burton, Helen Chenoweth and impeachment-hearing chairman Henry Hyde) found themselves downplaying their own messy adulterous affairs. Democrats weren't squeaky-clean, either: former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Colorado Governor Roy Roemer also confessed to adultery during this period.
In December, Flynt nabbed his first hypocrite. Then-House Speaker-elect Bob Livingston reluctantly resigned his position after learning his secret affairs with four women would be made public. On Jan. 11, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr-a rabid Clinton critic and one of the House's 13 "managers" running the impeachment trial-found himself uncomfortably under Flynt's microscope. One of Barr's two ex-wives claims that the Bible-thumping, anti-abortion congressman had committed adultery, failed to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" in a divorce proceeding, and quietly paid for an abortion. Barr immediately-if vaguely-denied the allegations and claimed the reports are part of a White House smear campaign.
So far, only Ron Packard in Orange County's conservative congressional delegation has been forceful and specific in his rebuke of Clinton's sex life. "The nation should not tolerate a president who commits immoral acts with impunity," said the 68-year-old Mormon. The rest of the county's Republican congressmen -Dana Rohrabacher, Chris Cox and Ed Royce-have taken decidedly low-key public stances on the sexual indiscretions. In their most forceful recent statements on the scandal, neither Cox nor Royce mentioned sex, sexual morals or adultery. Rohrabacher, who has admitted to a colorful past but felt compelled to tell us last year that he is not a homosexual (we hadn't even asked), has emphatically argued that he considers the sex lives-hypocritical or not-of politicians off-limits. In response to comparisons of Livingston's and Clinton's affairs, Rohrabacher told the Conservative News Service on Dec. 17, "We've made it clear this is everything to do with perjury."
When Hyde's sexual dalliance became public in September, a disturbed Rohrabacher walked onto the floor of the House and said: "This is beyond the pale. This is over the bounds of acceptability. . . . We realized that, like in that movie about the young boys who were on the island-remember that? Somebody else is going to have to help me with this. Lord of the Flies. In that movie Lord of the Flies. I remember I read the book as well, come to think of it. There was a conch that was the symbol of respect for law. But once that respect . . . was destroyed, there was a degeneration into a type of life, a savagery that came out. . . . What happened with the gentleman from Illinois [Hyde] was not in keeping with that spirit [of comity]. . . . Let us just state once and for all, we will not be intimidated. Justice will be served. We will make an honest determination of everything that comes before us, and personal attacks on us must stop, and they will not be tolerated."
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