WASHINGTON — The Clinton Foundation has no plans to return up to $250,000 in contributions from Harvey Weinstein, citing the fact that the donations have been used to fund charitable programs.
“We are a charity. Donations, these included, have been spent fighting childhood obesity and HIV/AIDS, combatting climate change, and empowering girls and women, and we have no plans to return them,” foundation officials said in a statement.
Weinstein’s last contribution to the foundation was in 2014, according to a spokesman, and the money has been spent.
In the wake of the Weinstein scandal, a number of Democratic senators and other party figures have announced that they were contributing Weinstein’s contribution amounts to charitable organizations. The Democratic National Committee said that it was donating $30,000 to the election-oriented groups Emily’s List, Emerge America and Higher Heights, but it is still facing calls to contribute the total sum of Weinstein’s contributions over the years, which totals about $300,000.
Over the weekend, the foundation held its 10th CGI University event, which focused on the empowerment of women and girls.
His contributions to the foundation pale in comparison to other donors, which include more than $25 million each from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada), Fred Eychaner and Alphawood Foundation, Frank Giustra and the Radcliffe Foundation, Nationale Postcode Loterij, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and UNITAID. The foundation posts the names of major donors on its website. Donald Trump gave to the foundation in the same range as Weinstein, but before Trump launched his presidential bid.
Weinstein raised money for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and helped organize fundraising events, including an October, 2016 star-filled gala at the St. James Theater on Broadway. She stepped away from foundation activities during her presidential campaign.
In an interview with the BBC on Friday, Clinton said that she was “shocked and appalled” by the allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein.
“I know him through politics as many Democrats have,” she said. “He has been supportive. He has been a funder for all of us, for Obama, for me, for people who have run for office in the United States. It was just disgusting and the stories that have come out are heartbreaking, and I really commend women who have been willing to come forward now and tell their stories.”
She added, “But I think it is important that we not only focus on him and whatever consequences flow from the stories about his behavior, but that we recognize that this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated anywhere, whether it is in entertainment, politics. After all, we have someone admitting to being a sexual assaulter in the Oval Office. There has to be a recognition that we must stand against this kind of action that is so sexist and misogynistic.”
In the BBC interview, Clinton was asked about three women accusers of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, that Trump’s campaign invited to a presidential debate last year after the “Access Hollywood” tape was released and proved a crisis for Trump’s presidential bid.
“That had all been litigated,” Clinton said of her husband’s accusers. “That was the subject of a huge investigation as you might recall in the late ’90s and there were conclusions drawn and that was clearly in the past. But it is something that has to be taken seriously, as I say for everyone, not just those in entertainment right now.”