The New York Post has a great scoop, torn from the pages of the forthcoming Hustler magazine tell-all Prisoner of X. In 1998, Larry Flynt famously promised $1 million to anyone who could give him dirt on the Republicans gunning to impeach Bill Clinton. After the midterm election, when Speaker Newt Gingrich resigned, Lousiana Congressman Bob Livingston was expected to take the gavel. But he quit after rumors about his own sex life surfaced, paving the way for still-Speaker Dennis Hastert. According to author Allan MacDonell, Livingston fell for a bluff.
"We actually had nothing on Livingston," MacDonell tells Page Six. He explains, "an elected Republican office holder from Louisiana passed us the phone number of a woman who was supposedly Livingston's girlfriend. But when we phoned her, she cursed us and hung up.
"About a day later," MacDonell says, "a reporter from Roll Call [the Capitol Hill newspaper] called and said he'd heard that we were working up something on Livingston. I thought: What would Larry do? Then I said, 'I cannot discuss any names or other details at this time.' The reporter replied: 'I'm running with it.' "
MacDonell, 50, says that after a news-show interview the next day—in which he claimed that Hustler was investigating Livingston's sex life—"within 24 hours, the Speaker-elect quit Congress."
In 1998, James Glassman wrote some predictions for the Livingston speakership that were never borne out.