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GOP Lawmakers, Groups Begin Returning Steve Wynn’s Contributions

UPDATED WASHINGTON — The Republican Governors Association is returning $100,000 in contributions from Steve Wynn’s Wynn Resorts, as the GOP faces calls to sever ties with the casino mogul in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations made against Wynn.

The RGA also is canceling its contract with Wynn Resorts to hold its 2020 conference there, according to a spokesman for the organization. The organization, in an outline of steps it has taken that was provided to Variety, also will not accept future contributions from Wynn or Wynn Resorts unless the allegations prove to be false. The RGA called the claims against Wynn “serious allegations.”

Democrats in particular have hammered the Republican National Committee over Wynn, sort of a political payback after the GOP targeted the contributions that Harvey Weinstein made to the DNC when stories of his sexual misconduct and assault broke in October. Many Democratic lawmakers did donate money to nonprofits.

Wynn resigned as the national finance chair of the Republican National Committee on Saturday, one day after the Wall Street Journal reported that dozens of former and current employees claim a pattern of sexual misconduct. Wynn has called the sexual assault claims “preposterous.”

Some Republican lawmakers have been urging party committees and candidates to return Wynn’s money or to give it to charity. Gov. Charlie Baker (R-Mass.) urged the RGA to return three years  worth of Wynn’s donations.

The RGA said that it cannot return $2.5 million it received from Wynn Resorts in previous election cycles over a span of 18 years because they money has been spent. The contributions were from Wynn Resorts, not Wynn himself, as part of a corporate membership program, according to the RGA. The company no longer will hold that membership.

The most recent IRS records show that Wynn donated $250,000 contribution to the RGA on Dec. 8, 2016. The organization has not yet filed a report for the second half of 2017.

Wynn has given to both parties, candidates, and committees, but he has been far more prolific in recent cycles in his contributions to Republicans.

He gave $5,400 to Sen. Rob Portman’s campaign in the most recent cycle. His spokeswoman told the Associated Press that the money would go to human trafficking organizations.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said that he would donate money he received from a Wynn Resorts public policy initiative to charity, according to The Hill.

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