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GOP pressured to return RNC finance chair Wynn's money as sex abuse scandal explodes

The RNC called on Democrats to return donations from donor Harvey Weinstein. Will Republicans hold themselves to the same standard?

By Dan Desai Martin - January 26, 2018
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Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee’s finance chair Steve Wynn have more in common than just being casino owners and friends.

They are both sexual predators, according to recent allegations against Wynn.

(Trump admitted to being a sexual predator in the infamous”Access Hollywood” tape that surfaced in 2016.)

The Wall Street Journal reports multiple women faced sexual harassment and rape at the hands of Wynn, who now leads fundraising efforts for the Republican Party.

In 2005, a manicurist left Wynn’s office in tears, telling colleagues Wynn forced her to have sex. Former employees told the WSJ about a culture of sexual abuse and fear, one noting that “everybody was petrified.”

Mirroring Republican efforts from just three months ago, many people are now calling on Republicans to return money from an accused sexual predator.

When news of Weinstein’s sexual harassment broke, the RNC released the following statement:

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.

Now that not only a Republican donor, but Trump’s hand-picked finance chair, is accused of similar behavior, will Republicans make the same demand of their own members?

So far, there is mostly silence.

Disgraced former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, even after getting booted from the White House, was prolific on social media demanding that Democrats return money. He went so far as to call silence from some Democrats “stunning.”

Yet when the Daily Beast reached out to him for comment on Wynn, Spicer was silent.

When Politico reached out to three Republican political arms — the RNC, where Wynn is finance chair; the Republican Governors Association; and the National Republican Senate Committee — they did not reply to a request for comment.

While national Republican groups are silent, the Wisconsin GOP said it would donate a $10,000 contribution from Wynn, only a very small drop in a very large bucket.

“Wynn has donated more than $2 million to Republican campaigns, party organs, and interest groups since 2001,” according to the Daily Beast. “That includes more than $1.3 million to the Republican National Committee (compared with the $300,0000 in donations that Weinstein gave to the DNC) and the party’s House and Senate campaign arms.”

The Democratic National Committee took its Republican counterpart to task for its hypocrisy and silence.

“In the exact words of RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, ‘If you stand for treating women well and you stand for the respect of women, you shouldn’t take money from somebody who treated women with the absolute highest level of disrespect,'” the DNC said in a statement.

“Instead, 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.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper said it was a “perfectly legitimate point” when Republicans asked Democrats about Weinstein’s donations, and therefore it is just as relevant now that Republicans answer questions about their own finance chair and his donations.

The Indiana Democratic Party is calling on RNC members to “return any of the committee’s donations raised by alleged serial sexual assaulter and RNC finance chairman Steve Wynn.”

The chair of the Clark County Democrats, which includes Las Vegas, was one of the first to call for Republicans to return money from Wynn:

Wynn, from Nevada, is particularly invested in Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller. Wynn helped push Heller to vote for the Obamacare repeal bill, as well as the deeply unpopular tax scam bill.

Will Heller and other Republicans stand by the principles they espoused only three months ago?

Or will the GOP continue to stand by sexual predators, as they did with Trump, Roy Moore, and Rep. Pat Meehan?

Republicans face a difficult choice now. If they stand by Wynn, they further discredit themselves in their demands for immediate accountability in cases of sexual harassment and assault when the perpetrator isn’t one of them.

If they throw Wynn under the bus, they lose the enormous contributions he has made over so many years.

As for whether Trump will stand by his friend and fellow alleged sexual predator, who continues to have great influence over Trump, it’s too soon to say, as Trump is en route back from his trip to Davos.

It is fair to say, though, that his relationship with Wynn will be one of the many questions he faces once he lands.


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