More details have emerged about how the whole story developed. [For details not included in this update, please scroll down].
According to the Washington Post's blog, California venture capitalist Chad Brownstein issued a letter today apologizing to Sen. Pryor for listing an internship with his office in an L.A. charitable auction -- without getting the senator's permission first.
According to the letter, Brownstein contributed $2,000 to Pryor's first Senate race in 2002.
Click here for complete details on the Post's blog.
After the Post report, Sen. Pryor's office released the following statement:
"As previously stated, I have never sold, auctioned or donated internships. I am glad the responsible party has come forward to clear up the matter. I had already referred the case to the FBI, and it is now up to them to determine whether a crime has been committed."
Thursday afternoon update:
What started out as a press release that raised eyebrows in the KARK newsroom has turned into a national news story and likely material for late night talk show hosts.
As of Thursday at noon, more than 200 articles had been published about the alleged internship with Senator Mark Pryor purchased by Girls Gone Wild founder and producer Joe Francis. Pryor's office says the internship was a hoax.
The story has made The Washington Post, CBS, Politico, and TMZ among other news outlets.
The founder of controversial brand "Girls Gone Wild" says he thought and still believes a congressional internship he purchased from a charity website was legitimate.
Joe Francis told TMZ.com he bought an internship in Senator Mark Pryor's office from the website BiddingForGood.com. The site currently has a listing for a 4-week internship with Pryor valued at $15,000.
After Francis announced he'd be giving the internship to the winner of a reality television show, Pryor's office sent out a statement calling the internship a hoax and saying they'd be asking the FBI to investigate.
"My only intention in purchasing this auction item was to support a local non-profit charity," Francis told TMZ. "At all times I believed in the legitimacy of this internship."
The Arkansas Times posted a link to a 2006 auction item listed on the same website as a lunch with Pryor for two. The item reportedly sold for $2,550.
In an interview with the Times, Francis says he thinks the internship from Pryor's office was legitimate and the senator backed out when he learned how the internship would be used.Related Links: