GOP Leader Seeks Investigation of Flynt
Saturday, January 16, 1999; Page A06
Republican National Chairman Jim Nicholson has demanded an investigation by the Justice Department into publisher Larry Flynt's efforts to unearth information about the extramarital affairs of Republican lawmakers.
The sole purpose of Flynt's effort, Nicholson charged yesterday, is "to intimidate and to silence members of Congress investigating the president."
Although the GOP has discounted Flynt's probes as the malicious meddling of a pornographer, his disclosures have stung leading critics of President Clinton, including Republican Reps. Bob Livingston (La.) and Robert L. Barr Jr. (Ga.).
Nicholson said he was adding his voice to a separate request for a Justice Department investigation from the conservative Washington-based Landmark Legal Foundation. In a letter addressed to officials of the department's criminal division, the foundation said Flynt's efforts and those of his investigator, author Dan Moldea, could constitute obstruction of a congressional investigation.
Flynt may have violated federal law by allegedly "threatening, intimidating or coercing Republican members of Congress" to remain silent about Clinton's conduct or face embarrassing disclosures about their personal lives, the letter said, adding that obstructing Congress is "a felony punishable by five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000."
Nicholson derided Flynt, who publishes Hustler magazine, as "the president's favorite pornographer," although the White House has sought to disassociate itself from Flynt's self-financed inquiries.
The GOP chairman charged that "tactics of intimidation and blackmail aren't just wrong, they're illegal, and our attorney general ought to take off her blindfold and begin criminal prosecutions."
Justice Department spokeswoman Chris Watney said the request for an investigation "is under review." Flynt's attorney, Alan Isaacman, called the demand for an investigation "absurd."
© Copyright The Washington Post Company