Former Playboy CEO to Host Fundraiser for Russ Feingold

Christie Hefner hosting fundraiser for Wisconsin Dem

Playboy Playmates pose on arrival at the Playboy Super Bowl XLIX Party on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

Playboy Playmates pose on arrival at the Playboy Super Bowl XLIX Party on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015 / AP

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Christie Hefner, the former CEO of Playboy, current board member of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and daughter of adult publishing legend Hugh Hefner, is holding a fundraiser Monday evening for Democrat Russ Feingold, who is running for Senate in Wisconsin.

Hefner is holding the reception for Feingold at her Chicago home. The least expensive tickets cost $1,000, but $2,700 co-host tickets and $5,400 host tickets are also available.

The listed contact for the Feingold reception at Hefner’s house did not return a request for comment as to whether Feingold would be in attendance.

Hefner is not new to politics. She has donated more than $200,000 over the past three decades, and almost all of it has gone to candidates on the left.

Included in her donations is $2,500 to Feingold, most of which came during his failed Senate campaign in 2010 in which he was defeated by current Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.).

Hefner also has a seat on the board of directors at the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), and has been a delegate at the Democratic National Convention multiple times.

Hefner took the helm of her father’s iconic Playboy Enterprises Inc. in 1988 and held the position for over two decades.

Hugh Hefner disputes charges from feminists that his company exploits women, saying that it is more "sexual liberation" than exploitation. His critics remain unconvinced.

"It's not sexual liberation to serve men when you're dressed in bunny ears and a fluffy tail," said one critic.

The company has become famous for the parties held at the Playboy Mansion, where girls felt like they were being held prisoner and were given drugs to be put in the mood for sex, according to a recent Cosmopolitan list about how miserable life was for the girls living there.

"Everyone thinks that the infamous metal gate was meant to keep people out," wrote Holly Madison. "But I grew to feel it was meant to lock me in."

"Maybe it was the pot and the alcohol, but drowning myself seemed like the logical way to escape the ridiculous life I was leading," Madison continued.

"Quaaludes were supposed to give you a nice buzz," wrote Izabella St. James.

"Hef told me once that they were meant to put girls in the mood for sex."

Girls who lived at the mansion also claim they were made to sleep on dirty mattresses, given a strict curfew, and forced to personally collect their money from Hefner as he picked dog poop off his carpet and complained about anything he was unhappy about.

ThinkProgress, the Hefner-connected CAPAF's blog, has defended Playboy while also noting that "feminists are wary of an institutional player that has long traded in photos where women are meant to fit male definitions of what’s sexy."

Though Hefner no longer works for Playboy, she says she visits with her father regularly to "play backgammon" and "watch movies."

Shortly after Hefner left the company, her ex-husband, former Illinois state senator William Marovitz, was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for illegally using inside information while trading shares in Playboy Enterprises Inc.

The SEC alleged that the information was given to Marovitz by his wife but also that she had made clear that the information was confidential and that he was not to use it.

Marovitz agreed to pay $168,352 for the insider trading but did not admit or deny guilt for the act.

Brent Scher   Email Brent | Full Bio | RSS
Brent Scher is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Virginia, where he studied foreign affairs and politics.

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