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Political Payback: Democrats Hammer RNC Over Steve Wynn Contributions

UPDATED WASHINGTON — In the week after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last October, Republicans blasted Democrats for taking money from an accused sexual predator.

On Friday, the Democratic National Committee returned fire, this time over casino mogul Steve Wynn.

The Wall Street Journal reported on accusations of a “decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct” by Wynn, based on the accounts of dozens of current employees. The Journal also reported that Wynn made a $7.5 million settlement with one woman. Wynn called the claims that he assaulted any woman “preposterous,” and blamed the appearance of the story on an acrimonious divorce from his ex wife, Elaine. In the hours after the story broke, Fox News said they would no longer book him.

Wynn is a friend of President Trump’s, and last year was named finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Following the Weinstein revelations, many Democratic senators, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that they would donate the movie mogul’s contributions to charity. The Republican National Committee pressed the Democratic National Committee to return the money, and RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on CNN, “If you stand for treating women well and you stand for the respect of women, you shouldn’t take money from somebody with the absolute highest level of disrespect.”

Sabrina Singh, the DNC’s deputy communications director, on Friday said the RNC was remaining “silent amid sexual assault allegations” involving Wynn.

“This is the Republican party. This is the party of Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Joe Arpaio, and Trent Franks,” she said. “Democrats will refuse to stand by while the Republican party denigrates women.”

A spokesman for the RNC did not immediately return a request for comment. Wynn had appeared in a recent Fox News special, and a spokesperson for the network said, “We will not be booking Steve Wynn on any potential future installments of ‘The Wise Guys,’ if it moves forward beyond a one-off special.”

Wynn’s relationship with Trump has been hot and cold through the years. During the 2016 campaign cycle, his donations included contributions to Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign during the primaries, as well as to Rubio’s leadership PAC, Reclaim America. He also donated to the reelection campaigns of Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and to the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, according to Federal Election Commission records. Spokespersons for the three senators did not immediately return requests for comment.

Pressure also came from the right. Doug Heye, former RNC spokesman, tweeted, “The RNC has to push him out. (They should do so regardless, but especially given how aggressive they were re Weinstein and Dems.)”

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