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Republicans Raise Eyebrows by Inviting Porn Star to Fundraiser

Some of the “values voters” who helped President Bush win a second term questioned his plans to attend a $2,500-a-plate GOP fundraiser with a 24-year-old porn star and political wannabe.

Mary Carey, an X-rated actress and one of 135 candidates to run for California governor against Arnold Swarzenegger, was invited to this week’s “The 2005 President’s Dinner & Salute to Freedom” with her boss, Mark Kulkis, a producer of adult films and honorary chairman of the National Republican Congressional Business Advisory Council.

Kulkis said he was personally invited to attend the exclusive June 14 fundraiser in exchange for a $5,000 contribution to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which sponsored the event.

Adult Industry News called it a moment in “pop culture history.” Kulkis said he would represent the pornography industry, which he said contributes more than $10 billion a year to the national economy.

Carey, whose gubernatorial platform included making lap dances tax-deductible, said she is considering a run for lieutenant governor and viewed it as “a great networking opportunity.”

“The President of the United States could be close enough for the Secret Service to pass the salt to the vivacious adult film superstar as she dines with Republican bigwigs from around the country,” boasted a press release.

The New York Daily News reported Tuesday that Carey said she would be on her best behavior. “I’m going to show Washington that a porn star is more than someone who just flashes her boobs,” she said.

Earlier she said she was especially looking forward to meeting presidential adviser Karl Rove.
“Smart men like him are so sexy,” she said, quoted by WorldNetDaily.com. “I know that he’s against gay marriage, but I think I can convince him that a little girl-on-girl action now and then isn’t so bad!”

She also said she would like to meet President Bush. “It would be an honor to meet him,” she said. “I’d like to talk to him about issues like freedom of speech and the crackdown on the adult industry. Maybe he can give me some political pointers.”

At least 5,000 people were expected at the dinner at the Washington Convention Center, aimed at raising $23 million in campaign funds.

Don Wildmon of the American Family Association said the porn industry is trying to embarrass Bush. “I think the Republicans can survive this, but they need to go public with an explanation,” he said. “They need to exclude them or withdraw the invitation. Just doing nothing is the worst thing they can do.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee defended the invitation, saying Carey and Kulkis’ money was as good as anyone else’s.

The White House dodged questions about the issue. On June 1, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan told WorldNetDaily correspondent Les Kinsolving he would not “get into dignifying” a question about what the president would do should the actress misbehave.

Two weeks later Kinsolving asked what the president thought about the moral example set by the Republican Party accepting money from a pornographer.

“I think you need to direct those questions to the committee itself,” McClellan said.

Kinsolving followed up by repeating Wildmon’s comment and asking if McClellan thought TV cameras covering the gala would focus on Carey, who was arrested last month in Tacoma, Wash., for indecency.

“Les, you’ve asked this question before and …,” McClellan said.

“No, no, no, no, this is a new question. It’s newly worded,” Kinsolving said.

“I think that those are questions to direct to the event sponsors.”

“But do you agree with him [Wildmon], Scott?”

McClellan didn’t answer and called for another question.

WorldNetDaily, a conservative online newspaper, has carried several stories criticizing the invitation, but it has gone largely unnoticed by other Bush supporters in the religious right.

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah complained last week that “family values” Republicans, who would have been outraged in the 1990s if President Clinton spoke at a fundraiser attended by a porn star and pornographer, were mute about such an event involving Bush.

“Is there anyone Republicans won’t take money from?” Farah asked. “Would they take money directly from the mob, which backs most porn? Would they take money from white slave traders? Would they take money from kiddie-porn producers? What would be their price for access and influence in the White House and Republican Congress–or have they already paid it? ”

“It’s time for the Republicans to give this matter some serious thought, rather than brushing it off or laughing it off,” he continued.

“Do Bush and the Republicans justify accepting money from pornographers for their campaigns? Do Bush and the Republicans understand that appearing with a porn star and a pornographer gives them and their criminal industry credibility? Do Bush and the Republicans think they are setting a good example for the moral climate of our nation by meeting with these people?”

“Maybe you don’t think this is an important issue,” Farah said. “I do. I think presidents are defined by the kind of people with whom they meet.

“Clinton got away with murder as president, but he probably would not knowingly have met publicly with pornographers. Instead, if I know Clinton, he would have accepted the money and arranged a quiet, private meeting with the porn star. He was politically astute enough to know his political opponents would take him to task.

“But who is going to take Bush to task? Why am I the only one who seems to care? Where are all those ‘family-values’ allies of Bush now? Why isn’t anyone else speaking up?

“Mark my words: If Bush and the Republicans go through with this meeting, it will come back to bite them. Their hypocrisy is about to be demonstrated to the entire world.”

In an interview, Carey told WorldNetDaily she considers herself a Christian and reads the Bible and prays every day. Asked about Bible passages condemning adultery, she responded: “Bill Clinton committed adultery. [Doing] adult movies is acting, portraying a role. It’s not Mary Ellen Cook, the real me.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.