No doubt by now you’ve seen the flap over the whole Mark Pryor-Girls Gone Wild internship mess. If not, here’s your brief recap-
Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis managed to win a “charity auction” for a D.C. internship with Pryor’s office from the website BiddingForGood and declared he’d be sending “the hottest girl in America” to intern for Pryor. Pryor, his staff, and the DPA all immediately jumped on the accusations, calling the whole thing a hoax, etc. From there, Pryor called in the FBI, Francis said A, B, and C, none of which is really worth repeating, and then, finally, the truth of the matter came out:
Pryor’s office said earlier this week that they called in federal authorities because they believed the auction to be a “hoax” and that someone had impersonated the Arkansas democrat.
The 39-year-old Francis insisted it wasn’t a stunt.
“It was confirmed with his office as far as I knew, it was never a hoax,” Francis told TPM in a phone interview Thursday afternoon.
As it turns out, the soft-porn mogul was right — the son of a lobbyist has admitted to creating the mix-up over the internship.
In a letter apologizing for the “embarrassment” he caused Pryor, Los Angeles businessman Chad Brownstein — son of Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck partner Norman Brownstein — said he told someone organizing an auction benefiting the Wilshire Boulevard Temple that “pending approval of [Pryor’s] office, I thought it might be possible to auction off an unpaid month-long summer internship for a high school student with your office.”
The letter was circulated by Tamara Taylor of Sitrick and Company, who told TPM the public relations firm was retained by Brownstein directly and that his father’s law firm had no involvement.
When all this broke, I kind of sat back and watched it play out, which considering my feelings on Pryor, which are no secret, took a fair deal of restraint. The whole idea of Pryor, the guy that runs for Pope for every election (not that we haven’t seen plenty of folks who do that caught in worse) getting wrapped up in this didn’t make any sense. The details of how all this happened though do however. It’s no secret that Pryor and his staff are super cozy with lobbyists and folks that contribute big donations to his campaigns. That’s pretty much common knowledge in Arkansas political circles. The attitude in the Pryor camp is generally something like “if someone brings you a check, take it no matter what”. With that kind of attitude, it’s no surprise that someone in that little clique of wealthy contributors, a businessman from California and the son of a lobbyist no less, decided to take a few liberties.
Some things still aren’t adding up though-like how this got “accidently” put out early or what made Brownstein so sure this was a possibility. That stuff isn’t really passing the smell test and raises more questions than answers.
The worst part of it for Pryor? I don’t think any of this is going away anytime soon. And there might still be more that comes out. Like I said, some of this smells pretty fishy. And if there is anymore to this, Pryor needs to just save us all a lot of trouble and change his mind about running for reelection. Who knows, maybe Brownstein can get him a nice little job out in California since they seem to be so close…
The moral of the story: Don’t be so close to the people writing the checks to your campaign. You might just find yourself regretting it.