Stormy Daniels protests Illinois tax on strip clubs

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Adult film star Stormy Daniels briefly appeared at the Illinois Capitol on Friday to protest the state's tax on strip clubs.

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The porn actress who alleges she had an affair with Donald Trump before he became president read a two-minute statement opposing the tax. Nicknamed the "pole tax," it's a 6-year-old surcharge on nude-dancing venues that serve alcohol and is meant to fund shelters for women who have been abused. The businesses pay $3 per patron or a set fee based on gross receipts.

Daniels, who delivered her statement beneath a statue of Abraham Lincoln, told the small crowd of mostly local dancers and news reporters that strippers are often young mothers trying to make a living. She said the tax has forced a price hike "which drives away customers and ultimately takes money out of the G-strings of hardworking dancers."

She called the tax "sexist and wrong," saying it ties nude entertainment to violence against women without justification.

Supporters of the law say the tax doesn't represent the belief that all strip-club patrons abuse women, but that it is akin to casino taxes funding problem-gambling programs.

Illinois Department of Revenue figures show receipts from the extra charge increased from $406,000 in 2014 to $532,000 in 2016, then dropped two successive years to $448,000 last year.

After she spoke, Daniels was rushed away in a dark-colored SUV that was taking her to a local strip club for a book signing.

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Follow Political Writer John O'Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor .