Republicans are urged to return their own scandal-engulfed major donor's money

When Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually assaulting women nearly four months ago, Republicans called on Democrat...

Posted: Jan 27, 2018 4:34 PM
Updated: Jan 27, 2018 4:34 PM

When Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually assaulting women nearly four months ago, Republicans called on Democratic lawmakers and committees to return contributions from the Hollywood mogul and major donor.

Now the GOP is being forced to answer for its own scandal-engulfed donor and fundraiser: Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino giant.

Immediately after The Wall Street Journal detailed decades' worth of sexual misconduct allegations from women who worked at Wynn's casinos, Democrats began insisting that Republicans -- and the Republican National Committee, where Wynn is finance chairman -- return Wynn's cash. Wynn has denied the allegations.

"Since he is finance chairman, shouldn't they have to give *all* the money back they've raised since he has been there?" Alixandra Lapp, the president of a super PAC that backs House Democrats, tweeted.

The episode could lead Republicans to regret weaponizing Weinstein's political contributions against Democrats.

Just this election cycle, Wynn has given $100,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He has also contributed thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona (who was running for re-election at the time of Wynn's donations), and special election victors Reps. Greg Gianforte of Montana and Karen Handel of Georgia.

The Wynn controversy comes after President Donald Trump and the RNC backed Roy Moore in Alabama's US Senate special election in December, despite allegations of child molestation and sexual assault against Moore. Moore subsequently lost to Democrat Doug Jones.

"The RNC and Ronna McDaniel have helped fund the campaign of an alleged child molester, blindly supported the GOP's attacks on women's health, supported a President who has been accused of sexual misconduct by over a dozen women -- and now they remain silent amid sexual assault allegations involving Steve Wynn, one of their party's most senior officials," said Sabrina Singh, the Democratic National Committee deputy communications director.

"This is the Republican Party. This is the party of Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Joe Arpaio and Trent Franks. Democrats will refuse to stand by while the Republican Party denigrates women. We will continue to march side by side with women all across this country because we believe that women must be empowered and respected," she said.

The RNC and the NRSC didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republican House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates in this year's midterm elections faced similar questions.

The Indiana Democratic Party called on Rep. Luke Messer, one of the Republicans running against Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, to urge the Republican Party to return Wynn's money.

"He needs to step up and call on his fellow leadership in the RNC to donate any and all money raised by Mr. Wynn to charity," said state party spokesman Michael Feldman.

Messer is a member of House GOP leadership but has no direct role at the RNC. "After a quick review, we've never received a contribution," said Messer campaign manager Chasen Bullock.

In Massachusetts, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker was also under attack by Democratic challengers. Wynn had contributed millions to the Republican Governors Association, which spent heavily on Baker's 2014 race. A Baker spokesman said he "is deeply disturbed by these allegations and expects them to be taken seriously."

The Republican Party's handling of the Weinstein scandal in October opened the door for Democrats to demand the same treatment of Wynn.

The GOP called on Democratic committees and lawmakers to return Weinstein's contributions after The New York Times' blockbuster report detailed numerous sexual assault allegations against the movie producer.

"During three-decades worth of sexual harassment allegations, Harvey Weinstein lined the pockets of Democrats to the tune of three quarters of a million dollars. If Democrats and the DNC truly stand up for women like they say they do, then returning this dirty money should be a no brainer," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement the day the allegations against Weinstein were first reported.

"The Weinstein scandal put Hollywood's hypocrisy in broad daylight. RT if you agree the DNC should return his donations," the RNC tweeted at the time.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a number of Democratic lawmakers returned or donated Weinstein's contributions. The Democratic National Committee redistributed the money to organizations that promote women in politics.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 76°
Columbus
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 79°
Starkville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 75°
Tropical Depression Claudette has now moved into Alabama and Georgia, leaving with some cloud cover but dry conditions. Most of us will stay dry through this Father's Day but some spotty showers will likely through the late afternoon.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather