We­in­stein cash for Democrats in the spot­light

Waikato Times - - World -

UNITED STATES: Lead­ing Democrat politi­cians are un­der pres­sure to re­turn their cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from Har­vey We­in­stein, as the fall­out from the sex scan­dal en­gulf­ing the Hol­ly­wood mogul spreads to Washington.

The film pro­ducer is at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion in Europe, in re­hab, after his wife Ge­orgina Chap­man an­nounced she was leav­ing him.

Calls have grown for We­in­stein to be stripped of his CBE, and Cara Delev­ingne and Heather Gra­ham yes­ter­day be­came the lat­est stars to al­lege they had suf­fered sex­ual ha­rass­ment from him.

We­in­stein, 65, had over the course of 25 years ac­cu­mu­lated more than US$2.2 mil­lion in do­na­tions for the Democrats, both through per­sonal con­tri­bu­tions and ‘‘bun­dles’’, funds raised by ral­ly­ing his friends.

By last year, he had do­nated more than US$26,000 to Hil­lary Clin­ton, and put an­other US$15,000 into the po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee HILLPAC over 17 years of her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer. A fundraiser in June 2016 for her pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cam­paign raised more than US$1.8m.

We­in­stein was also a strong sup­porter of Barack Obama, even­tu­ally do­nat­ing more than US$45,000. The Oba­mas sent their daugh­ter Malia to in­tern for We­in­stein’s com­pany last year.

Both the Oba­mas and Clin­ton have is­sued state­ments con­demn­ing We­in­stein, but nei­ther men­tioned re­turn­ing the funds.

New York se­na­tors Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gil­li­brand quickly do­nated the con­tri­bu­tions he had made to their cam­paigns to char­ity. But New York Gover­nor An­drew Cuomo, who re­ceived US$60,000, has not fol­lowed suit, New York Repub­li­cans al­lege.

Repub­li­cans have called on Democrats to re­turn We­in­stein do­na­tions.

‘‘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,’’ said Ronna Rom­ney McDaniel, chair­man of the Repub­li­can National Com­mit­tee. ‘‘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.’’

The Man­hat­tan dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice de­fended a de­ci­sion by for­mer dis­trict at­tor­ney Cy Vance not to pros­e­cute We­in­stein in 2015 after be­ing given an au­dio tape from ac­tress Am­bra Bat­ti­lana Gu­tier­rez in which We­in­stein ad­mit­ted grop­ing her.

Months later, Vance re­ceived a US$10,000 cam­paign con­tri­bu­tion from We­in­stein’s lawyer.

In Bri­tain, Labour MPs yes­ter­day vowed to re­fer We­in­stein to the hon­ours for­fei­ture com­mit­tee, mean­ing he could be stripped of his CBE.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Har­vey We­in­stein raised mil­lions of dol­lars for Democrat politi­cians over 25 years.

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