Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said she will let an investigation into former finance chair Steve Wynn’s alleged sexual misconduct conclude before deciding to return the money he donated.
The allegations against Wynn are different from other sexual scandals by high-profile Democrats, McDaniel said, because Wynn has denied the reports. “Unlike Harvey Weinstein and Al Franken and others, Steve has denied them,” McDaniel said Tuesday during a Fox News interview.
“There is an investigation that’s going to take place,” McDaniel said. “He should be allowed due process, and if he is found of any wrongdoing, we will absolutely return 100 percent of that money. But we’re going to let due process take place.”
While the allegations against Wynn, reported by The Wall Street Journal Friday, are “deeply troubling,” they do not merit a full refund of the millions of dollars Wynn has donated to the party, McDaniel said.
Within 24 hours of the Wall Street Journal’s report, which alleged that Wynn pressured a massage therapist and a manicurist to have sex with him on multiple occasions and engaged in harassing behavior toward subordinates, Wynn had resigned his position as chair of the RNC’s financial efforts.
Republicans have begun calling for the party to refund any money that Wynn has donated, as many Democrats did with the money donated by disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Wynn donated $248,000 to the RNC, $411,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and $100,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee in the past five years.
The Republican Governors Association announced Monday that it would return $100,000 in donations given by Wynn’s company, and cancel its contract to hold the 2020 RGA conference in Las Vegas. The association said it won’t return most of $3 million Wynn has donated over the years because the money has already been spent.
Wynn’s office denied the reports Friday, claiming the allegations could be an effort by Wynn’s ex-wife to gain leverage in divorce proceedings.
“The recent allegations about Mr. Wynn reflect allegations made in court hearings by Mr. Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, in her legal battle with him and the company,” Wynn Resorts told CNBC in a statement. “It is clear that Mr. Wynn’s ex-wife has sought to use a negative public relations campaign to achieve what she has been unable to do in the courtroom: tarnish the reputation of Mr. Wynn in an attempt to pressure a revised divorce settlement from him.”
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