Casino mogul Steve Wynn during a news conference in Medford, Mass., Tuesday, March 15, 2016.
Charles Krupa/AP Photo

Despite scandal, RNC welcomes money from casino mogul Steve Wynn

It was early last year when billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn, facing sexual misconduct allegations, resigned as the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. The story has since become even more serious: an investigatory report later painted an ugly portrait of an executive accused of “sexually assaulting or harassing” many women who worked for him.

As regular readers may recall, state regulators concluded just last month that Wynn’s company “ran a longstanding, sophisticated cover-up to protect founder Steve Wynn from allegations by employees that he had engaged in sexual misconduct against them.”

It was therefore a bit jarring when Donald Trump met with Wynn, who’s denied all wrongdoing, ahead of a campaign event in Las Vegas in April. A Politico report published late last week, however, took the story to a new level.

The national Republican Party has accepted nearly $400,000 in donations from disgraced ex-casino mogul Steve Wynn — a move that comes just over a year after he was accused of sexually harassing or assaulting employees over a decade-long period.

Wynn gave $248,500 to the Republican National Committee and $150,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in April, according to two people familiar with the contributions.

The New York Times ran a report of its own yesterday, adding that Wynn was also seen last week “arriving at a high-dollar fund-raising dinner” for Trump and the RNC in New York.

Some hypocrisy is a routine element of politics, but when hypocrisy reaches you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me levels, it’s worth pausing to take note.

Circling back to our earlier coverage, when Harvey Weinstein faced related allegations in 2017, the RNC invested considerable energy, not only in trying to tie Weinstein to Democrats, but also in demanding that the DNC return any contributions it received from the disgraced Hollywood producer.

When the DNC was slow to respond, the Republican National Committee intensified its focus. It didn’t matter that Weinstein had no formal connection to Democratic politics; he was a Democratic donor and for the RNC, that was enough. “If the DNC truly stands up for women like they say they do, then returning Weinstein’s dirty money should be a no-brainer,” RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said in October 2017.

Soon after, allegations against Wynn first surfaced. It was problematic when the RNC accepted his resignation, but the party refused to return his money. That was before Republicans started accepting even more money from the casino mogul.

I’m trying to think of a defense for such a posture in light of the standards the RNC set for its Democratic counterparts. Nothing comes to mind.

RNC

Despite scandal, RNC welcomes money from casino mogul Steve Wynn