Harvey Weinstein Harassment Claims Put Obamas, Clintons in Tough Spot | Hollywood Reporter

12:11 PM PDT 10/5/2017 by Jeremy Barr

Harvey Weinstein, over the last few decades, has exerted his significant influence over the world of Hollywood filmmaking and entertainment. But, as a reliable and consistent donor for Democratic politicians, his largesse and deep connections have also translated to the world of electoral politics.

The mogul was the subject of a New York Timesexposé published on Thursday alleging that he "has reached at least eight settlements with women" over sexual harassment claims.

Weinstein told the paper that he was taking a leave of absence from his company in order to focus, in part, on his political goals. "I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I've decided that I'm going to give the NRA my full attention," Weinstein wrote in a statement to the paper.

He added: "I hope [NRA executive] Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I'm going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I'm making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party."

Weinstein was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton's recent presidential run and donated to her political campaigns about 10 times between 1999 and 2016, according to a review of campaign finance records.

Weinstein's donations to Clinton over the years total more than $20,000 and span from her successful campaign for U.S. Senate in New York in 2000 to her unsuccessful presidential campaigns of 2007 and 2016. He also donated to her husband's presidential campaigns in the 1990's.

More broadly, Weinstein has donated generously to Democratic political candidates, national party campaign committees and state Democratic Party operations over the last few decades. Last year, he also gave $10,000 to a political action committee associated with the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.

On Thursday, after the Times report came out, a spokesperson for Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich's re-election campaign told The Hollywood Reporter that a $5,400 donation from Weinstein in April has been given to a New Mexico non-profit organization that offers a 24-hour hotline for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The decision to do so was made "as soon as Senator Heinrich learned of these allegations," the campaign representative said.

Sen. Patrick Leahy has also given away a campaign donation from Weinstein, as have fellow Democratic Sens. Corey Booker and Elizabeth Warren. 

Weinstein threw a fundraiser for Clinton in June 2016 at his home in Manhattan, co-hosted by several A-list actors. He also reportedly attended several other fundraisers for Clinton in New York City during the campaign. Hollywood, generally, was firmly behind Clinton's campaign, so Weinstein was not alone in his support for the former secretary of state.

THR has reached out to Clinton's post-campaign spokesman to ask if she plans to return any of the donations she has received.

He also hosted fundraisers benefiting Barack Obama's reelection campaign in 2012 and donated several times to his campaign in 2011 and 2012. Weinstein was considered a "bundler" for Obama's campaign, as he raised $679,275 for it.

Obama's daughter, Malia Obama, also recently interned for Harvey Weinstein's company in New York during a break before college.

Weinstein, in an interview on CBS in April 2016, expressed a preference for Clinton over her then-rival in the Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders. "I'd rather go with Hillary's, who's a strong, proven leader," he said at the time. According to an email leaked and published last fall, the Clinton campaign helped prepare Weinstein for the interview.