As Democratic lawmakers begin to distance themselves from disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, the break-up might be a bit tougher for the Clintons and Obamas – whose ties to the mega-producer and Democratic donor run deep.
Hillary Clinton, after facing mounting pressure to speak out, broke her silence on the allegations Tuesday. Five days after the Weinstein accusations emerged, Clinton released a statement saying she was “shocked and appalled.” Late Tuesday, the Obamas released a statement of their own, saying: “Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accoubtable, regardless of wealth or status.”
A deep and tangled history with Weinstein could help explain the delay.
The producer -- using his connections to the wealthy Hollywood and New York elite -- gave or helped raise more than $100,000 for Barack Obama and the Clintons since at least 1995, according to OpenSecrets.org. Roughly half of that went to Hillary Clinton's presidential and Senate campaigns, including a political committee she used to support other Democrats and a joint fund with the DNC in 2016.
In total, Weinstein gave or helped raise -- or “bundle” -- $1.5 million for Democratic candidates over that time, according to Open Secrets, the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics’ website that tracks campaign finance.
Weinstein, who was fired from his own company Sunday following sexual misconduct allegations dating back decades, hosted two Hillary Clinton fundraisers just in the last election.
On Tuesday, Clinton denounced Weinstein’s actions and said such behavior "cannot be tolerated." But neither she nor Obama has revealed plans to return his money or donate it to charity, like New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and other congressional Democrats have done.
As with Clinton, Weinstein has been a significant donor and fundraiser for the 44th president -- having raised or helped raise roughly $56,000 for the former Democratic president’s Obama Victory Fund.
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