Monday night's televised mea culpa of Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, all started with a full-page $106,000 ad in the Washington Post last month -- offering a $1 million bounty to anyone who could document "a sexual encounter" with a high ranking government official or member of Congress.
The ad was paid for -- and the bounty promised by -- the notorious Larry Flynt, a hardcore pornographer, proud Democrat, and First Amendment activist.
"That's what levels the playing field between the big media and between myself is the checkbook journalism," Flynt told ABC News. "And I see nothing wrong with it because what makes a story bad if you pay for it? You know? If it checks out and its good then there is nothing wrong with it," said Flynt.
An investigator paid by Flynt found the phone number of a conservative Republican U.S. senator among the records belonging to Deborah Jean Palfrey, the so-called D.C. Madam currently being prosecuted for allegedly running a prostitution ring.
A Hustler staffer called the senator about the discovery on July 9, and just two hours later, Louisiana Sen. David Vitter pre-emptively issued a press release. Vitter called a press conference a week later, on this Monday evening, right before the evening news.
"I want to again offer my deep, sincere apologies to all those I have let down and disappointed with these actions from my past I am completely responsible and I'm so very very sorry," he said.
Vitter continued, speaking for him and his wife: "Wendy and I dealt with this personally several years ago. I confronted it in confession and marriage counseling. I believe I received forgiveness from God, I know I did from Wendy and we put it behind us."
Wendy Vitter added: "To forgive is not always the easy choice, but it was and is the right choice for me."
Flynt watched Vitter's televised mea-culpa from his Los Angeles headquarters.
What made it particularly enjoyable for Flynt is the fact that Vitter is a self-proclaimed defender of family values who has been a leader of the charge against same sex marriage.
In 2006, Vitter said, "marriage is truly the most fundamental social institution in human history."
Flynt said: "He established his credentials as the ultimate hypocrite. What was so sad about it, he had to do it standing behind his family. He used his family to try to make it go lightly into the fact that he used a hooker. I don't care who anybody sleeps with, I don't want people legislating morality for me in Washington."
Flynt has been paying for stories like these for years, perhaps most famously during the impeachment of President Clinton.
In 1999, then-congressman Bob Livingston, another Louisiana Republican, was about to become speaker of the House when he suddenly resigned -- after Flynt's investigator called him with questions about an alleged extramarital affair.
The winner of the special election to replace Livingston was a young state representative named David Vitter.
And while Wendy Vitter sounded quite forgiving at her husband's press conference, at the time of the Livingston and Clinton scandals, she sounded different.