Republican Rep. Mimi Walters, who represents California’s 45th Congressional District, casts herself a “proven champion fighting for domestic violence victims.” She serves on the House Ethics Committee. She also accepted $5,400 — the legal maximum — in campaign contributions last July from Elliott Broidy, the man who agreed to pay an ex-mistress $1.6 million in hush money. In a lawsuit alleging a breach of this agreement, she also accuses him in court filings of sexual misconduct (Broidy denies the allegations). The woman says Broidy physically injured her, hurt her during sexual activities, touched her in non-consensual ways, and expressed his admiration for Donald Trump’s ability to get away with sexually abusing women. Walters did not return requests for comment.
Walters is not alone. At least five other House Republicans facing tough re-election races accepted the legal maximum from Broidy in 2017. And none of them responded to a ThinkProgress inquiry about whether they will return or donate the funds in light of the revelations of his alleged behavior and his resignation from his position as Deputy Finance Chair of the Republican National Committee over that “personal matter.”
The fact that the candidates took the money at all is stunning, given that Broidy pleaded guilty in 2009 to bribing New York pension officials. At that time, numerous politicians returned the tens of thousands of dollars they had received from him. Last month, the Washington Post reported that the venture capitalist and GOP fundraiser is also under a federal Department of Justice investigation for allegedly selling government influence.
His prior misdeeds did not stop GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania’s 8th District from taking a pair of $2,700 checks last July from Broidy. Fitzpatrick’s ads present him as a tough former law enforcement official and accuse his opponent of “opposing the victims of rape and sexual assault.” Democratic nominee Scott Wallace highlighted the Broidy donations in a new campaign ad released on Thursday. His campaign manager noted in a statement that the donations are particularly ironic given that “Fitzpatrick touts spending his career ‘arresting politicians’ and claims to want to ‘fix Washington.'”
Nor did they stop California Republicans Reps. Jeff Denham (10th District), Dana Rohrabacher (48th District), Steve Knight (25th District), and David Valadao (21st District). Each collected $5,400 in donations from Broidy in 2017. None has reported divesting these funds.
Broidy also contributed $33,900 donations, the legal maximum, to the National Republican Congressional Committee (the campaign arm of the House GOP majority), the National Republican Senatorial Committee (its Senate counterpart), and the Republican National Committee. The official party platform denounces both “crony capitalism” and “sexual assault.”
CORRECTION (9/21/18 1:45 p.m.): An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the $1.6 million was a court settlement payment. It was, in fact, hush money. Broidy is now being sued for failure to pay the full amount, and the sexual misconduct allegations were included as part of that lawsuit.