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RNC suspiciously silent about sexual assault allegations against its finance chair

The organization previous railed against Democrats for accepting donations from Harvey Weinstein.

Credit: (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Credit: (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Wall Street Journal published a story Friday exposing Las Vegas casino mogul and Republican National Committee finance chairman, Steve Wynn, for his alleged history of sexual assault. One incident detailed in the Journal report claims Wynn forced a manicurist to have sex with him and later paid the woman $7.5 million for her silence.

This wasn’t just a one-off incident, according to the report; dozens of women, many of them workers at his casinos, came forward with their own stories of forced sexual contact with Wynn.

As finance chairman of the RNC, Wynn’s position is primarily to raise money for the party of President Donald Trump, an old friend and fellow businessman himself accused of sexual misconduct by 19 women. Just as Trump has denied the allegations against him, Wynn did the same, telling the Wall Street Journal, “the idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous.”

In the wake of these allegations, the RNC seems to be scrambling to find an appropriate response — thus far choosing silence. (The organization railed against Democrats last fall for taking donations from Harvey Weinstein after the numerous allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him were made public.)

As reported by Buzzfeed, Wynn donated more than $200,000 to Republicans in 2017, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Roughly $69,000 of that went directly to the RNC, including in-kind contributions, like travel expenses, vendor reimbursements, and catering charges.

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Wynn donated to two successful GOP candidates: Greg Gianforte in Montana and Karen Handel in Georgia, in addition to donating $100,000 to the National Republicans Senatorial Committee in 2017 and contributing to the campaigns of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller. All told, Wynn has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the RNC and various organizations affiliated with the Republican party.

According to the Washington Post, Wynn has no immediate plans to resign from his post at the RNC, leaving the organization to deal with the fallout.

The RNC has yet to respond to questions from multiple media outlets about Wynn, including a request from ThinkProgress. Sam Stein, a political editor at the Daily Beast, even reached out to former White House press secretary Sean Spicer for comment. Spicer, who echoed the RNC’s call for Democrats to return any donations from Harvey Weinstein, has yet to respond.

In addition to causing trouble for the RNC, the sexual assault allegations against Wynn are already having an impact on his business empire. Wynn, who is currently building a $2.4 billion casino in Massachusetts, will soon have to face the state’s gaming commission, which says it will be conducting a regulatory review to determine the next appropriate steps.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Wynn Resorts Ltd. shares sank 9 percent after the Wall Street Journal’s report was published.