SEARCH
« Jeff Sessions consulted Christian right legal group on religious freedom memo | Main | President Trump looms large over Virginia governor's race »
Friday
Oct062017

Democrats donating away past contributions from Harvey Weinstein

Credit: Architect of the Capitol(NEW YORK) -- The developing sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein has put a spotlight on Democrats now faced with questions about the Hollywood producer's deep involvement in supporting liberal politicians and causes. Weinstein's lawyer has said many of the specific allegations are false, but Weinstein has generally apologized for past misconduct.

At least eight Democratic senators have donated or vowed to donate away contributions Weinstein provided in past campaigns following the publishing of a New York Times investigation into three decades of allegations against Weinstein by current and former employees.

A spokesperson for New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker's campaign said it is donating the $7,800 received in the past from Weinstein to the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, a nonprofit charity organization. A spokesperson for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren similarly said she has donated the $5,000 she received from Weinstein in 2012 to charity.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer's spokesman Matt House said Schumer is donating a total of $14,200 in past contributions to several charities supporting women.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s senior adviser Glen Caplin told ABC News she is donating $11,800 she received from Weinstein in cycles prior to 2016 to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network.

Caplin additionally went after "right-wing activists" who have since seized on the story to attack Democrats.

“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," Caplin said. "They can start by endorsing her bipartisan legislation to end sexual violence on college campuses and in our military.”

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel hit Democrats who had yet to donate away Weinstein's money in a statement Friday afternoon.

"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," McDaniel said. "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."

Donald Trump Jr. also took to social media calling for the president's former campaign rival to disavow Weinstein, evoking language used by his father's opponents following the release of an Access Hollywood tape in which Donald Trump is heard bragging about groping women.

Former President Barack Obama's office told ABC News it has "no comment on the matter" when asked about Weinstein's role as a bundler for Obama and his daughter Malia Obama interning for Weinstein's company in New York last year.

According to the campaign finance transparency site OpenSecrets, Weinstein donated $2,700 directly to Hillary Clinton in November of 2016 and another $2,700 in May of 2015. He also threw a fundraiser for her on June 20, 2016, in Manhattan, in which attendees contributed more than $33,400 to attend, per a Clinton aide.

ABC News has reached out to Clinton’s publisher for comment but has not yet received a response.

In a statement, Democratic National Committee Communications Director Xochitl Hinojosa called the allegations against Weinstein "deeply troubling" and said that the DNC "condemns all forms of sexual harassment and assault."

"We hope that Republicans will do the same as we mark one year since the release of a tape showing President Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women followed by more than a dozen women who came forward to detail similar experiences of assault and harassment," the statement added.

The DNC also says it will donate more than $30,000 in contributions from Weinstein to Emily's List, Emerge America and Higher Heights, "because what we need is more women in power, not men like Trump who continue to show us that they lack respect for more than half of America."

Weinstein said in a statement obtained by ABC News that he has "caused a lot of pain" and that he is taking a leave of absence from his company, during which time he said he will dedicate himself to working against the National Rifle Association.

"I so respect all women and regret what happened. I hope that my actions will speak louder than words and that one day we will all be able to earn their trust and sit down together with [attorney] Lisa [Bloom] to learn more. Jay Z wrote in [his song] '4:44' 'I'm not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children.' The same is true for me. I want a second chance in the community but I know I've got work to do to earn it."

Weinstein has hired Hulk Hogan's lawyer, Charles Harder, who won the former wrestler a $140 million-dollar verdict against Gawker that was later settled for $31 million. Harder told ABC News in a statement that the Times' report on Weinstein is "saturated with false and defamatory statements" about his client and that he is preparing a lawsuit against the newspaper.

The New York Times told ABC News that it is "confident in the accuracy" of the reporting.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







ABC News Radio