Montana's top elected Republicans say they will forfeit campaign donations from Republican donor and casino magnate Stephen Wynn if allegations of sexual misconduct that surfaced Friday are true.
U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte will donate a $2,700 contribution from Wynn to charity if the allegations reported Friday by the Wall Street Journal are founded. Wynn is chairman of Wynn Resorts, with a half-dozen luxury casino properties in Las Vegas. The casino owner is also the current financial chairman of the national Republican Party. The Journal's report alleges more than a decade of sexual harassment and assault by Wynn.
“These are serious allegations, and if true, the campaign will donate the $2,700 received to charity,” said Travis Hall, a spokesman for Gianforte.
Wynn’s spouse, Andrea Wynn, also contributed $2,700 to Gianforte’s campaign in May. Andrea Wynn was not a subject of the Journal report, which was based on interviews with more than 150 Wynn employees, who corroborated incidents of sexual misconduct and assault.
The Journal report lit up the Twittersphere with posts from Democrats calling on Republicans across the country to return Wynn donations, just as Republicans had called on Democrats to return money from disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and former Minnesota U.S. Sen. Al Franken.
Donation shaming has become a part of political culture as a flurry of sexual misconduct accusations have surfaced against men in positions of power.
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U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, who received $5,400 from Wynn in the 2014 Montana U.S. Senate race, wanted more information about the breaking accusations. Andrea Wynn contributed an identical amount.
“The allegations are disturbing, and we need to get the facts,” said Jason Thielman, chief of staff for Daines.
Montana Republican Party Chairwoman Debra Lamm said her state party would follow the lead of Montana Democrats who in November chose not to forfeit $12,000 equal to contributions it had received from Franken.
“The Montana Democrats refused to get rid of the $12,000 they received from disgraced Sen. Al Franken. When they get around to doing that, and if these allegations are found to be true, we will evaluate what to do with the $3,650 contribution.”
Tester denounced Franken on Twitter, acknowledging that the Minnesota senator had donated $25,000 to Tester’s campaigns. Tester said he would donate an equal amount to the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.