Democrats Under Pressure to Return Campaign Contributions from Harvey Weinstein

Democratic politicians who have received campaign contributions from Harvey Weinstein are being called upon to return the money after the New York Times published an exhaustive story Thursday detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against the Hollywood super-producer.

The Times reported Thursday that Weinstein — whose films including Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love, and Good Will Hunting have racked up numerous Academy Awards —had reached financial settlements with eight women over sexual harassment allegations, including with actress Rose McGowan.

At least three Democrats have already said they will donate money they received from Weinstein to charitable causes.

A representative for Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said in an email Friday that Blumenthal would donate his contribution from Weinstein to the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Weinstein contributed $5,400 to Blumenthal in October of last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Meanwhile, the campaign manager for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told CNN that the $5,600 Leahy received from Weinstein in campaign contributions would be donated to the Women’s Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation, while a representative for Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) told the outlet his $5,400 contribution would be donated to the non-profit Community Against Violence in New Mexico.

Senator Hillary Clinton and Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein arrive at the Brooklyn Museum for the premiere of Miramax Films “Finding Neverland” October 25, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

Miramax Film co-chairman Harvey Weinstein, left, watches as actor Ben Affleck, center, peers around U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Thursday, June 27, 2002, in New York, to glance at Brooklyn’s Red Hook Container Terminal, where Affleck and Schumer called on President Bush to support nuclear security legislation being introduced into Congress. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

In addition to his hundreds of production credits over a decades-long career in the movie business, Weinstein was a significant contributor to the Democratic National Committee and individual Democratic politicians, including former President Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. In June of last year, Weinstein hosted a $33,000-per-plate fundraiser for Clinton at his New York City home that drew celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Matthew Broderick.

In a statement Thursday, the Republican National Committee called on Democrats to return what it called the “dirty” money donated by Weinstein; the release noted that according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the movie mogul had contributed at least $769,000 to Democratic politicians and political action organizations, including $246,290 to the Democratic National Committee, and $17,400 to Clinton.

“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,” RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney-McDaniel said in a statement. “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.”

In this March 14, 2012 file photo Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman arrive at the White House for the State Dinner, hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, for British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

According to CRP, Weinstein also donated at least $19,800 to Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and his political action committee, at least $16,200 to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), at least $11,800 to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), at least $7,800 to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and at least $5,000 to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Representatives for Schumer, Franken, Gillibrand, Booker, and Warren did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In an interview with the New York Post‘s Page Six following the New York Times report, Weinstein said the paper had engaged in “reckless reporting” and had not given him the opportunity to respond to specific allegations made against him. He added that he planned to file a $50 million lawsuit against the paper.

 

Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum


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