The most recent financial disclosure from Clinton’s campaign shows that Hillary never returned, or donated to charity, a controversial donation that her campaign received. The donation came from Jim Larkin – the former co-owner of an adult website linked to underage prostitution.
Despite donations from this Jim Larkin being returned by four other Democrats, Hillary has decided to hold on to the tainted money. Larkin exclusively gave to Democrats, with $5,400 going to Hillary, with his business partner also giving $162,000 exclusively going to Democrats at the federal, state and local level.
Larkin is the owners of the prostitution website Backpages, an online website featuring adult classified ads. As Attorney General of California, now Senator, Kamala Harris aggressively pursued charges against Larkin for prostitution. His donation was sent to the Hillary Victory Fund – which was a joint fundraising effort of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the Clinton campaign.
This past April, The Arizona Republic published an investigation finding that Michael G. Lacey, the other owner of the Backpage.com, donated a $162,000 to the Democratic politicians of the state and federal level in past recent years. The publication combed through Federal Election Commission (FEC) financial disclosures, and found that David Garcia – a Democratic Candidate for Arizona governor- had received money from the tainted source. Garcia responded by announcing that that he would donate the money he had received from Backpages to help the victims of sex trafficking. The other Democrats that the Arizona Republic discovered followed a similar course of action.
Another former Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, who is contemplating another run for the House of Representatives the next year, announced that she too is donating the contributions to the Arizona Coalition to End the Sexual and Domestic Violence. She was the first of the politicians to move to dump the tainted donations.
As the controversy spread from one Arizona politician to another, Arizona State University partnered with the Phoenix Police Department to investigate Backpages. They found that 80% of the postings were ads for prostitution, with more than 900 ads targeting Phoenix, Arizona alone. Of those 900 ads, there were also numerous ads for underage girls.
This past January, the top business executives at Backpages appeared before the Senate Committee on Investigations in Washington, DC. The subcommittee later released a report stating that not only was the site hosting underage ads, but they were also actively editing them to remove words that would point to underage sex trafficking.