Congressional and Senate Democrats are beginning to donate thousands of dollars to charities as they unload money that was given to them by disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Two of the most well known are Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and potential 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Weinstein and his family have donated more than $1.4 million in contributions to Democratic politicians since 1992, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The Democratic Party is now making an effort to distance themselves from the 65-year-old film titan since The New York Times reported that Weinstein settled sexual harassment lawsuits with at least eight women.
The Hollywood producer has donated nearly $1 million in his own name in addition to collecting and providing roughly $1.5 million as a part of “bundled” donations, which the Center for Responsive Politics defines as contributions provided by “people with friends in high places who, after bumping against personal contribution limits, turn to those friends, associates, and, well, anyone who’s willing to give, and deliver the checks to the candidate.” The Democratic National Committee is the biggest receiver of funds from Weinstein, totaling about $800,000 in several of its accounts, according to the center. Additionally, Mali Obama in January interned for Weinstein.
The Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said they plan to give more than $30,000 to Emily’s List, Emerge America and Higher Heights. These three groups work to elect women to office. Hinojosa said the money was for the funds Weinstein himself donated to the party during the 2016 campaign.
Some other beneficiaries of Weinstein’s money included $200,000 to the party’s Senate campaign accounts, $23,200 to its House campaign arm senatorial and $46,350 to Hillary Clinton, the 2016 presidential candidate. He also gave to HILLPAC, a fund Clinton used to support other Democrats while she was a senator, and he gave $10,000 to President Barack Obama.
Weinstein was a guest at the White House during the Obama presidency and helped put on a film workshop in 2013. During this event, the then-first lady Michelle Obama described Weinstein as a “wonderful human being, a good friend, and just a powerhouse.”
The White House pounced on the disgraced Democratic contributor. “Whether or not that’s money they want to take, that’s up to them,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“Returning this dirty money should be a no-brainer,” said Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel. And RNC spokeswoman Cassie Smedile said Democrats decided to “shirk the moral high ground and instead chose to launder the dirty Harvey Weinstein money to fellow Democratic political organizations.”
In the midst of Democratic leadership scrambling to rid themselves of “dirty money,” presidential contender, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said that she will not accept any future Weinstein contributions. But a spokesperson for her said, “Kirsten invites the right-wing activists using this terrible story as a political tool to join her in actually working to combat sexual assault and sexual harassment in our society.”
Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in statement, “The Democratic Party condemns all forms of sexual harassment and assault. She went on to criticize “men like Trump who continue to show us that they lack respect for more than half of America.”
Do you think Democratic leadership should be pressured to give back the money they received from Weinstein?
Credit: Real Clear Politics