Flynt Now A Politcal Force -
Promises More High-Priced Scandal

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Politicians are talking about being "Larry Flynted" and Rep. Bob Livingston warns darkly of "government by Larry Flynt."
Suddenly Flynt, the self-described "pornographer, pundit and social outcast," is being taken seriously on Capitol Hill.
As senators get ready to put President Bill Clinton on trial, the publisher of Hustler magazine is threatening to serve up a second helping of the kind of scandal that drove Livingston to resign from the House. Flynt has hinted only that his next target is a "big fish" Republican.
The campaign to unmask what Flynt calls hypocrisy in the Clinton investigation is shaking up more than politicians. Some political experts fear that in driving the public discourse to new lows, Flynt will deepen cynicism about the impeachment process and government in general.
"This is dangerous to democracy," said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political scientist at Claremont Graduate University. "It's dangerous to the First Amendment and it only adds to the cynicism we see out there. This is sexual bounty hunting."
This is a man who made his name with a hard-core sex magazine that once pictured a woman being put through a meat grinder, a man who went to the Supreme Court over a magazine spoof ad suggesting the Rev. Jerry Falwell lost his virginity to his mother in an outhouse.
Flynt, who is 56 and has been in a wheelchair since a 1978 assassination attempt, won the Supreme Court fight. He gained a shred of legitimacy in some eyes when the 1996 movie The People vs. Larry Flynt, portrayed him as a First Amendment hero.
Now he is making waves on Capitol Hill.
Livingston, a Louisiana Republican who was about to take over as speaker of the House, turned down the gavel and said he would resign from Congress in six months after admitting he had had adulterous affairs.
Flynt had flushed Livingston out after putting an advertisement in the Washington Post offering to pay up to $1 million for verifiable information on adultery by members of Congress or other government officials.
Flynt said he will hold a news conference next week to make his latest disclosure. He described his next victim as a Republican House member who has been a strong critic of Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. "This guy is really a gem," Flynt said. "We've got enough to go on now, but we are waiting for an affidavit from his ex-wife."
He said that he will probably name a third politician later next week, and that he is paying between $3.5 million and $4 million to a number of women who responded to his ad. At some point he will publish details not in Hustler, but in a one-time magazine called The Flynt Report.
"Certainly, scandal-mongering goes back to the beginning of the republic," said Gary Jacobson, a political science professor at the University of California at San Diego. "But now it is on this huge financial scale. It's a sign of the times."
Flynt's previous forays into mainstream celebrity have included offering a $1 million reward for new information in the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
The shooting that paralyzed Flynt from the waist down was blamed on a man incensed by an interracial photo spread in Hustler. The same white gunman also admitted shooting and wounding Vernon Jordan, the Washington lawyer and Clinton confidant who is a key figure in the Lewinsky investigation.
"He always wanted to be a political player," said Paul Krassner, who did a brief stint as Hustler publisher in 1978 and now runs the alternative paper the Realist in Los Angeles.
"He wanted to play a part in politics and in the culture of the country," Krassner said, "and he got what he wanted. But he paid a very high price for it."