RNC will keep Wynn money until outside investigation is complete
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said Tuesday that the organization would only return donations from former RNC finance chair Steve Wynn, who has been accused of sexually harassing his employees, if investigations find him guilty of wrongdoing.
The RNC has been largely silent since Friday’s Wall Street Journal report about Wynn, a casino mogul. The RNC announced his departure from the top party finance spot one day after the report, which claims that Wynn had been harassing women and pressuring them into performing sexual acts for decades.
When asked by Fox News whether the RNC was planning on returning donations from Wynn — who has given millions to the RNC and other GOP groups over the years — McDaniel said the party wants to wait for the process to unfold. Wynn played a key role in the RNC’s record-breaking 2017 fundraising, and has given heavily to the RNC as well as other GOP party organizations and candidates over the years.
The RNC was quick to call for Democrats to return money from Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein after the Hollywood producer was accused of a litany of instances of sexual misconduct. But McDaniel said Tuesday that, in Wynn’s case, the RNC will instead wait until the investigations are complete before returning any money.
“The allegations in The Wall Street Journal were deeply troubling. They were so troubling that within 24 hours, Steve was no longer our finance chair. But Steve has denied these allegations; unlike Harvey Weinstein and Al Franken and others, Steve has denied them,” she said, referencing the former Democratic senator from Minnesota.
“There is an investigation that’s going to take place. He should be allowed due process, and if he is found guilty of any wrongdoing, we’ll absolutely return 100 percent of that money. But we’re going to let due process take place.”
Weinstein, who had also been accused of numerous instances of sexual abuse and harassment, denied “any allegations of nonconsensual sex” in a statement days after those allegations surfaced. He initially apologized for “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past.”
Franken, who has been accused of groping women without their consent, denied parts of those allegations while saying that he remembered other events differently than his accusers did.
The board at Wynn’s company, Wynn Resorts, is investigating the claims raised by the Journal report.
Various Republican groups and candidates have decided to return money donated by Wynn as political pressure mounted, including the Republican Governors Association as well as Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
And Democrats have harshly criticized the RNC and Republicans who haven’t yet returned donations from Wynn, noting the ferocity with which Republicans called for Democrats to return donations from Weinstein and Franken.
This story was updated at 10:51 a.m.
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