BY: MICHAEL MATSON
Last October, Willard Mitt Romney joined fellow GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in signing an anti-pornography pledge with Morality In Media, the “leading national organization opposing pornography and indecency through public education and the application of the law.”
In a written statement, Romney pledged, “(I)t is imperative that we cultivate the promotion of fundamental family values. This can be accomplished with increased parental involvement and enhanced supervision of our children. It includes strict enforcement of our nation’s obscenity laws, as well as the promotion of parental software controls that guard our children from Internet pornography.”
However, Think Progress reports that campaign filings from last September show Romney accepted the maximum campaign contribution of $2,500 from Dean Staton, the chairman of Friends Finder Networks, Inc., a company that owns (among other properties) Penthouse, LikeMyNudePhoto.com, and Bondage.com. Filings also show that Romney accepted $2,000 from Stanton and $2,300 from company CEO Mark Bell during his failed run for president in 2008.
The President and CEO of Morality in Media, Patrick Trueman, has issued a statement to Think Progress that asks Romney to return the money from Stanton:
"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."
Think Progress has previously reported that right-wing campaigns like Morality in Media's seek to ban pornography outright, rather than enforce existing obscenity laws.
Romney's campaign has not responded yet to MIM's request to return the contribution.